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Boeing CEO grilled at Senate hearing over safety lapses

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Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun presents himself before a US senators during a Senate Permanent Subcommittee hearing. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun faced blistering criticism from U.S. senators on Tuesday over the company’s tarnished safety record and multi-million dollar compensation package during a high-stakes hearing examining recent production issues.

The hearing before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations marked the first time Calhoun testified before Congress since a door blew open on a 737 MAX jet in January, raising new safety concerns about Boeing. It also put a spotlight on the company’s struggles to regain trust and the FAA’s oversight following the 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people.

“This is a moment of reckoning for Boeing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the subcommittee chair. “The evidence is near-overwhelming to justify prosecution against Boeing.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) aggressively questioned why Calhoun, who earned $32.8 million in 2023, had not resigned. Calhoun defended his actions, saying “I am proud of every action we have taken.”

However, senators released a scathing report citing whistleblower complaints that Boeing prioritized production over safety, including allegations of improperly tracked substandard parts and retaliation against workers raising concerns.

“Documents paint a troubling picture of a company that prioritizes speed and cutting costs over ensuring quality and safety,” the report stated.

FAA chief Mike Whitaker testified his agency had been “too hands-off” in overseeing Boeing and would implement tougher oversight going forward, admitting “we clearly did not have enough folks to see what was going on.”

Calhoun took responsibility for recent incidents but insisted Boeing is committed to improving its safety culture. With prosecutors weighing a prosecution decision by July 7th, the CEO sought to convince lawmakers of accountability while defending his leadership.

“I apologize for the grief that we have caused,” Calhoun told victim families, calling their losses “gut-wrenching.”

The high-stakes hearing underscored Boeing’s ongoing battle to restore confidence and heightened scrutiny over the company’s and FAA’s efforts to ensure airline safety.

Written by
Dirk Andrei Salcedo

An aviation enthusiast turned creator of the top aviation news portal in the Philippines, Dirk has a deep passion for everything that flies. When he's not keeping his finger on the pulse of the industry, he also volunteers with a major humanitarian organization, impacting people on the ground and in the sky.

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