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Another Black Mark For Boeing For Damaged Wing Discovered Mid-Air

Image credit - Kevin Clarke

Another Black Mark For Boeing For Damaged Wing Discovered Mid-Air

Another Boeing aircraft (United Airlines) had one damaged wing discovered by a passenger (again in midair) en-route to Boston. It resulted in the plane diverting to Denver. Viral photos of the damaged wing also appeared on Reddit. 

The forumer wrote “sitting right on the wing and the noise after reaching altitude was much louder than normal. I opened the window to see the wing looking like this,” user @octopus_hug wrote next to a photo that appeared to show a plane wing with holes in it. “How panicked should I be? Do I need to tell a flight crew member?”

It is extremely tempting to speculate Ed Clark, Head of 737 Max program was probably scapegoated over the Alaskan Airline incident where a door tore off in mid-air. His 18 years of service were not enough to mitigate the damage or redeem for his loyalty to the aircraft maker.

Clark was shown the door on 21 February 2024 with immediate notice, according to a memo from CEO Stan Deal. Deal said the leadership changes are emblematic of the company’s “enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements. Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less.”

Nonetheless, global media which discussed Clark’s departure had mixed thoughts. Some commented it would be unrealistic to watch every stage of manufacturing closely like plugging bolts, hence the exit had some deemed too harsh. This is in spite of the corporate principle that the leader is held responsible for the shortcomings of the team.

Boeing recently announced it will completely overhaul its quality control process, especially at the Renton, Washington factory where the 737 Max 9 aircraft are built. Inspectors discovered loose and missing bolts in multiple 737 Max 9 aircraft, including inside door plugs, the failed part that caused the Alaska Airlines incident.

United Airlines is one of the biggest buyers of Boeing jets, is losing patience with the troubled aircraft maker. “I’m disappointed that… this keeps happening at Boeing. This isn’t new,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United, in an interview Tuesday on CNBC. “We need Boeing to succeed. But they’ve been having these consistent manufacturing challenges. They need to take action here.”

While nobody was injured in that case, it sparked public backlash against the company and hurt its stock price. The company’s stock has fallen about 12.5% since. As this piece is written, Singapore is hosting the Air Show and media who attended observed Boeing personnel were extremely low profile and not granting interviews. Other media felt Boeing had to relook at its priorities — getting their airplanes out quickly or done correctly.




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