After two deadly crashes within five months involving the 737 Max 8 aircraft, Boeing is in a precarious position. The damage caused by the crashes to Boeing will depend on the results of the investigators, said Henry Harteveldt, founder of the travel research company Atmosphere Research Group.
"This definitely affects Boeing's reputation," he said. "The question is how fast the investigation in Indonesia and Ethiopia will provide conclusive evidence of what might have caused these accidents."
Read more: Government Grounding of All Boeing 737 Max Jets Recalls That the US Still Does not Have a Leader for its Supreme Air Traffic Control Agency. 1
During each crash, Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines did not properly train their pilots. You may also conclude that the crashes have occurred for reasons outside of Boeing or airline control.
But in the worst case for Boeing, the investigators found that the aerospace manufacturer had deliberately taken shortcuts with instruction manuals, training procedures or anything else related to its 737 Max aircraft and airlines could lose their confidence in Boeing, Harteveldt said. In this case, the airlines could cancel orders for 737 Max or other Boeing aircraft.
"Boeing has an excellent reputation for aircraft development, but is not a foolproof organization," said Harteveldt.
Boeing declined to comment.
There is no guarantee that investigators will find more mistakes at one party than anyone else. The circumstances behind the United States' decision to land 737 Max aircraft are unusual, Harteveldt said, and may have been influenced by international pressure. In the days before President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he would give an order to land the plane, many other nations, such as China, Australia, Britain and France, announced their own bans.
"You have never had a President in the United States who grounded a plane until [Wednesday]," Harteveldt said. "I think the President felt that the US needed to act because we would look unusual on the world stage."
The FAA prefers to make decisions about the landing of aircraft based on facts and data that demonstrate that such movement is necessary to ensure that passengers and airlines are not inconvenienced without good cause, said Harteveldt. In this case, a decision was made for the agency.
"I would have preferred if the FAA had objectively, independently of itself, decided whether or not to ground the 787 instead of forcing their hand," said Harteveldt. "I do not want a passenger or a crew in danger, but I do not like any jerking reactions."
If you have worked for Boeing and have a story to share, contact this reporter at email@example.com.