When faith is shattered, disastrous fate follows. Boeing is finding this out the hard way. As often happens in human affairs, this was avoidable and fixable, except that there was this undue haste stoked by leaders in sensitive positions listening only to themselves.
The results now go beyond money and market share. There are all those lives lost; and the reputational hardships that now emerge in the worst ways.
This is what Boeing is learning too late, to its chagrin and pain. In an original piece by BGR (an online tech savvy entity), and as carried by the Los Angeles Times on June 5, the airplane manufacturer now stares at corporate Mayday.
The title of the article said it all: “Nobody wants to fly on the disastrous Max 737, even if Boeing fixes it.” Turbulence intensified by a 30 billion-dollar order with China at risk.
Regulators are taking no chances, going slow, and seeking unprecedented consensus before issuing a final decision to approve the Max 737 returning to the skies. Regulators, too, fell short when the twin tragedies and their related contexts became public.
Pilots are angry because they feel misled and their concerns were not addressed, either completely, honestly or timely. These are the people who have to live with these machines daily for years in the future and in all kinds of conditions, once they are cleared for takeoff.
Their anxieties are understandable. If pilots are apprehensive of their own safety, that is a welcomed first step towards ensuring the safety of the public.
Now, according to the online report, a considerable segment of the public is having none of it. Some details illuminate.
First, “a new survey conducted by the Atmosphere Research Group suggests that nearly half of all travellers would actually be willing to avoid a 737 Max flight even if meant having to pay more for an alternate trip.” Almost 50% is high; and the willingness to pay more for other arrangements is damning. Fear. No trust.
Second, “A full 20% said that they would be completely avoiding the Max 737 if and when the fleet is finally cleared for travel once more.” No good news there either. Trust (again).
Third, there was the slimmest sliver of the positive in the survey “of some 2000 recent travellers” where “a mere 14% said that they would be definitely willing to take a trip in one of the troubled planes.” There should be reasonable doubt, as to whether 14% (or only 280 travellers out of 2000) could be considered in any way as positive news for Boeing. For that means that almost 1700 potentially paying passengers would be keen to look for another craft.
In the dogfight of commercial aircraft manufacturing, dominated by Boeing and Airbus, this is the equivalent of flying on one wing (possibly engine, too) for the former. Boeing brought this nightmare scenario on its head by repeated failures: failure to own up to its predicament, with all its human horrors; failure to tell the truth; failure to persuade onlookers—the public, the powers, and the press that it was sharing the whole truth.
In some quarters, there is the nagging sense that Boeing is still withholding, still skimming, still denying.
When leaders in their spheres, be such the corporate world, or the world of politics and church, then there is hell to pay because there is BREACH OF TRUST, sacred, priceless trust that sometimes can never be recovered. Happening to Boeing. Has happened here in Guyana. Coming clean can only follow if one has been living clean. That is by doing right: no rush, no tricks, no games. There is only one story: truth.
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