The Patriot Post® · More Turbulence Ahead for Boeing

By John J. Bastiat ·

The hits keep coming. A few months ago, we wrote about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) pending rubber-glove probe of the aviation monolith following Alaska Airlines’s now-infamous door panel blowout (Things That Go Boeing in the Night). At the time, only one whistleblower had died under mysterious circumstances. Now we’re up to two, the latest having succumbed to “complications from a rapidly progressing infection, the specifics of which remain unclear,” according to The Washington Times. The upshot is that one day, this latest victim was a perfectly healthy 45-year-old, and the next, he was the casualty of an unknown, rapidly spreading sepsis.

Meanwhile, the “suicide” victim reportedly told a close friend, “If anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.” While the friend’s statement has not been independently corroborated, surrounding evidence strongly suggests that the victim had no intention of committing suicide, lending credibility to this lone account. Regardless, the very fact of these sudden, consecutive whistleblower deaths has understandably led to fusillades of conjecture and suspicions in social media.

Beyond these two erstwhile whistleblowers, 10 additional witnesses had been preparing to detail their accounts of Boeing’s widespread manufacturing improprieties. However, their attorneys are now raising apprehensions about whether their clients are willing to testify, given the potential fate that apparently awaits anyone raising such alarms. If they ultimately decide to testify, however, let’s just hope their life insurance policies are fully paid up!

Piling on with an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle, the FAA is now investigating Boeing’s potential failure to complete required manufacturing inspections on its 787 Dreamliner, to include falsification of aircraft records by Boeing employees in an effort to cover up these omissions. No worries: these were merely inspections to ensure the huge aircraft’s composite wings were sufficiently bonded to its fuselage. Notwithstanding the impeccable safety record of these aircraft, the thought of a wing folding up over the mid-Pacific on a 300-ish passenger jet undoubtedly is sending bonus shockwaves through the public’s psyche.

Indeed, the only thing dropping faster than public confidence in (or whistleblowers at) Boeing is its stock price. Baked into its valuation is conclusive evidence that the two 737 MAX 8 catastrophes, the inflight door punchout failure, the whistleblowers’ suspicious deaths, and the FAA’s investigation into 787 inspection misconduct have all taken their toll. In the four years since the beginning of these calamities, Boeing shares have plummeted from values in the $300-plus per share range to today’s $100-plus range. Additionally, against the other manufacturer in the world’s airliner duopoly, Airbus, Boeing has dramatically lost market share. Five years ago, the two companies were in a virtual dead heat. Today, Airbus dominates, with a third more deliveries and almost twice as many orders on deck for mid- and large-sized commercial airliners than its hapless rival.

Without wishing the same, if it’s possible to suffer worse optics than those Boeing is currently enduring, we’re not sure how. We thus close by reiterating our previous advice: Boeing, get your act together. And do it soon.