Boeing announces more company changes to “strengthen” safety commitment

New Product and Services Safety organisation will be responsible for reviewing all aspects of product safety

The crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was the second involving a 737 MAX and took to the MAX death toll to 346.

In the wake of two deadly 737 MAX crashes and coming on the heels of an earlier announcement naming a special board committee for safety, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg announced the company has named the head of a new Product and Services Safety organisation and also announced that engineers throughout the company will now report to Boeing’s chief engineer (See video below).

The new board committee announced previously and these most recent actions came after a five-month review of the company’s policies and processes for the design and development of its airplanes and follow the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people.

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing.

“Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and the recent 737 MAX accidents will always weigh heavily on us. They have reminded us again of the importance of our work and have only intensified our commitment to continuously improve the safety of our products and services,” said Muilenburg. “My team and I embrace our board’s recommendations and are taking immediate steps to implement them across the company in partnership with our people, while continuing and expanding our ongoing efforts to strengthen safety across Boeing and the broader aerospace industry. We thank our board and the committee members for their thorough work and ongoing support. Boeing is committed to always being at the forefront, proactively leading and advocating for continuous improvements in global aerospace safety.”

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Boeing vice president Beth Pasztor will head the new safety organisation.

In addition to the previously announced permanent Aerospace Safety Committee of the Boeing board, Muilenburg said a new Product and Services Safety organisation will be created to “unify safety-related responsibilities currently managed by teams across several Boeing business and operating units”. The new unit will be led by Beth Pasztor, vice president of Product and Services Safety, who will report jointly to the Boeing board of directors Aerospace Safety Committee and Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s chief engineer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology. “The organisation will bring together teams across Boeing—and external talent where needed—to elevate awareness and reporting of, and accountability for, safety issues within the company, further improving enterprise-wide product and services safety”, Boeing said.

Pasztor has worked at Boeing for 34 years and previously served as vice president of Safety, Security & Compliance for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where she was responsible for integrating product safety and regulatory compliance actions and initiatives.

The new organisation she leads will be responsible for reviewing all aspects of product safety, including investigating cases of undue pressure and anonymous product and service safety concerns raised by employees. Pasztor also will oversee the company’s Accident Investigation Team and safety review boards, in addition to the enterprise Organization Designation Authorisation — the company’s engineering and technical experts who represent the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in airplane certification activities.

Boeing’s chief engineer Greg Hyslop.

Muilenburg also announced that engineers throughout the company, including the new Product and Services Safety organisation, will report directly to Hyslop. “This realignment will help strengthen engineering expertise, encourage a companywide approach to meeting customer, business unit and operational priorities, and further emphasize the importance of safety. It also places an even greater emphasis on creating professional growth opportunities for engineers across the enterprise”, Boeing said in its statement announcing the moves.

The company said it was also establishing a Design Requirements Programme to “strengthen a culture of continuous improvement, learning and innovation; enhancing the Continued Operation Safety Programme to raise visibility and transparency of all safety and potential safety reports; partnering with commercial and defence customers, and other stakeholders, to ensure flight deck designs continue to anticipate the needs of future pilot populations; and expanding the role and reach of the company’s Safety Promotion Centre to reinforce Boeing’s long-standing safety culture.

“At this defining moment, Boeing must take an expanded leadership role with a heightened focus on safety — and reach even higher,” said Muilenburg. “In addition to our focus on a common safety management system, we’re creating new leadership positions with the authority, accountability and transparency needed to make measurable progress; addressing the growing need for talent, pilot and maintenance technician training, and STEM education; as well as investing in areas such as product design, future flight decks, infrastructure, regulation and new technologies. We will have more to share on these additional efforts soon.

“Ensuring the safety of the flying public, pilots and crew is our top priority as we work to return the 737 MAX to service,” he continued. “We’ll keep learning from the recent accidents, share what we learn with the broader aviation community, and emerge better and stronger as a company and industry.”

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.


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