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Senator Hassan to Boeing CEO: You Talk About Safety, But There Are Still Product Failures

Senator Hassan: “What I would assume is by now you would have identified root causes for some of these safety problems, and what I’m not hearing is an answer back.”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) pressed Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, for answers about its recent string of safety failures at a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing.

“It seems like every other day, news breaks of a new problem or safety concern with Boeing aircraft,” said Senator Hassan. “There have been major problems with Boeing’s manufacturing, assembly, and quality assurance… Americans built the first ever airplanes more than a century ago. But now, for the first time in decades, Americans are more and more nervous about flying your American-made planes. That breakdown in trust is a remarkable failure for your company, and I am concerned that it stems from a decision to put profits ahead of safety.”

To watch Senator Hassan’s hearing questions, click here.

“What are the root causes of this systemic failure?” asked Senator Hassan. “How are you going to fix it?” After Mr. Calhoun talked about Boeing’s safety culture without an explanation for the repeated failures seen in the company’s products, Senator Hassan pushed him, saying, “How do you make sure safety and quality is your product, as opposed to your words?” Mr. Calhoun still did not provide a clear explanation for the root causes of the safety defects in Boeing aircraft.

At the hearing, Senator Hassan also pushed Mr. Calhoun about the reports about retaliation against whistleblowers. In April, Senator Hassan heard from Boeing whistleblowers about the poor safety culture at the company at a separate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing. When Mr. Calhoun was unable to name specific instances of actions taken to prevent retaliation, Senator Hassan highlighted his inability to answer the question, saying, “I would suggest because you couldn’t answer how many folks have been disciplined or fired for retaliation, I would suggest that a personally involved CEO might be able to get us that information.”

Finally, Senator Hassan also highlighted concerns about recent reports about Boeing aircraft potentially having parts made from counterfeit titanium and pressed for answers on what Boeing does to verify the accuracy of materials it obtains.