Boeing chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing Acts On Safety Recommendations

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he would immediately act on a series of recommendations that emerged from a five-month review of company policies and processes for airplane design and development by Boeing’s board of directors. The review came in response to the pair of accidents involving the 737 Max jets that killed a total of 346 people.  

In addition to the previously announced permanent aerospace safety committee within the board of directors, Muilenburg announced that Boeing will establish a product and services safety organization to unify safety-related responsibilities now managed by teams across several Boeing business and operating units.

Vice president of product and services safety Beth Pasztor will lead the team and report jointly to the Boeing board of directors aerospace safety committee and Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and senior vice president of engineering, test, and technology. The organization will bring together teams across Boeing—and external talent where needed—in an effort to increase safety-related awareness, reporting, and accountability.

Pasztor, a 34-year Boeing veteran, previously served as vice president of safety, security, and compliance for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where she held responsibility for integrating product safety and regulatory compliance.

The organization will review all aspects of product safety, including investigating cases of undue pressure and anonymous product and service safety concerns raised by employees. Pasztor will also oversee the company’s accident investigation team and safety review boards, as well as the enterprise organization designation authorization (ODA) engineering and technical experts who represent the Federal Aviation Administration in airplane certification activities.

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The U.S. airframer may further cut back or even suspend production and doesn’t expect the aircraft to return to service before the fourth quarter.

With input from the specially appointed committee, Muilenburg also announced that engineers throughout Boeing will report directly to Hyslop, who will concentrate on health and capability of the engineering function and related needs of the company. Boeing said the 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.

The company also will establish a design requirements program to strengthen a culture of continuous improvement, learning, and innovation; enhance the continued operation safety program to raise visibility and transparency of all safety and potential safety reports; partner with commercial and defense customers to ensure flight deck designs continue to anticipate the needs of future pilot populations; and expand the role and reach of Boeing’s safety promotion center.

Further steps announced by Muilenburg include expanding companywide use of a comprehensive safety management system and safety review boards to standardize safety policy and objectives, share best practices, manage risk, assess performance, increase visibility, and strengthen the company’s safety culture. Meanwhile, the product and services safety organization will review an anonymous reporting system, born in Commercial Airplanes and expanded across the company. Boeing also has expanded safety review boards and placed in charge senior company leaders, including its chief engineer and business unit CEOs.

Finally, Boeing recently has invested in enhanced flight simulation and computing capabilities in an effort to proactively test a wide range of scenarios. For example, over the past several weeks, software engineers have run 390,000 flight hours—or the equivalent of 45 flying years—on the 737 Max.