Now Fear This

February 16, 2017
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, left, and Delta Airlines CEO Edward Bastian, right, had a meeting at the White House last Thursday. (REUTERS)

We’re hearing more and more stories about the major US airlines going Washington and insisting the administration do something about the Middle East airlines, Norwegian Air and other international carriers.

This is nothing new, it’s been going on for years.

Last week, Delta, United and Southwest airlines had a meeting at the White House – but there’s not much word about what happened.

Obviously they must have asked the same thing they’ve always asked: Hey, these guys are subsidized, please do something, do not allow them more landing rights, block them, blah blah blah.

We’ll see, but this is an ongoing trend.

And the comment from Trump – about ‘obsolete’ infrastructure for planes, trains and roads, seemed like a strange tangent.

Whether anything concrete came out of the meeting, we don’t know yet.

But, we’re sure the Middle East airlines and Norwegian will be watching very closely to see what transpires in the short term, and long term, because it could be very disruptive.

Boeing Quality Control Back in the News
Randall Hill/Reuters
Through some good investigative work, the Seattle Times printed details of d ocuments they won through a Freedom of Information Act request showing “a disquieting pattern of falsified paperwork and ignored procedures that created quality issues on the production lines of Boeing and its suppliers.”

The newspaper revealed previously undisclosed details of a $12 million fine from several Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigations in 2015.

The FAA also put Boeing on probation for five years, subject to $24 million in additional penalties if it fails to carry through on compulsory improvements outlined in the report.

“Intentionally Falsifying Papers”

The piece chronicles a half dozen examples of careless conditions involving fuel leaks, missing tools, crossed wires.

In January 2015, a mechanic rigging a large 777 cargo door at a Boeing supplier was questioned about his work by an FAA investigator. The mechanic acknowledged that “he does not use the inspection tools required and enters false inspection data on the work order.”

Nope, Nothing To See Here Folks

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said, “None of these matters involved immediate safety of flight.”
FlyersRights member and Washington state resident J.R. commented, “{Boeing’s} move to Chicago with manufacturing plants to South Carolina are behind the erosion of trust and quality.  Unions also protect quality of work when someone speaks up.”
The takeaway from the investigation is that Boeing’s “official” production documentation did not match what workers on the shop floor actually did.
This is unacceptable at best and unlawful at least. We (the public) pay for, and rely upon, this entire system to work properly.  
We are happy to hear the FAA is doing their job. Oversight and accountability saves lives. Without it, the result is what happened to Alaska flight 261– a worn out jackscrew overlooked in routine maintenance.
However, as far as the $12 million goes, that is a drop in the bucket for a industry as large as Boeing. 
Correction to last week’s newsletter:

We try to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible.  Six hours after we sent out the newsletter for proofreading, and soon after we made other corrections and posted it, one of our proofreaders alerted us to this;

On the other hand, “no more competition” is the opposite of Trump’s economic program for some industries, such as pharmaceuticals….maybe.  There seems to be nothing predictable with Trump from minute to minute.”

suggesting that we add the part starting with ‘…maybe’.

He referenced this article: which had been posted as he was proofing the newsletter.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Through The Looking-Glass,

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

We apologize for the unpredictable error in timing.

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