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  • Narrator: The Boeing 737 Max

  • was the fastest-selling airliner in Boeing history,

  • selling more than 5,000 aircraft over the past few years.

  • But in April and May, Boeing sold zero.

  • The 737 Max was big, fuel-efficient,

  • and more affordable than other planes.

  • It was a popular plane until a particular sensor

  • became a problem, which eventually led

  • to two fatal crashes in five months,

  • killing everyone on both flights: 346 people total.

  • Since then, there has been a worldwide grounding

  • of the 737 Max, lawsuits from pilots

  • and from families affected by the crashes,

  • and congressional hearings,

  • and the US Department of Justice

  • has begun a criminal investigation.

  • Boeing took a long time to address the issues,

  • which only seems to have made things worse.

  • With modifications to the plane's software underway

  • and hopes that it will fly again soon,

  • the question remains:

  • Can Boeing bounce back?

  • This wasn't the first time Boeing

  • had a problem with their designs.

  • In the 1960s, the Boeing 727 had issues with its new wings.

  • In the 1990s, the Boeing 737 had issues with its rudder.

  • And in 2013, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

  • had issues with its battery catching on fire.

  • Boeing has a history of introducing new designs

  • that lack advice from outside experts to ensure safety.

  • And this sensor problem with the 737 Max was no different.

  • Christine Negroni: How the Boeing 737 Maxes crashed,

  • not one but two occasions,

  • is the result of complicated decisions

  • that were made early on in the process

  • when they were trying to decide what they were going to do

  • with their next narrow-body aircraft

  • in a competitive market with Airbus.

  • And they decided, rather than build a new plane,

  • they would go back and tinker with an old plane.

  • Narrator: Boeing took the 737 model from the 1960s

  • and added larger engines to create the 737 Max.

  • This new design caused the nose of the plane to point up.

  • Boeing added the Maneuvering Characteristics

  • Augmentation System, also known as MCAS,

  • to essentially keep the nose from pointing up.

  • Negroni: And then, of course, the next problem

  • was that they didn't tell the pilots or even the airline

  • that this solution existed on the aircraft.

  • What would happen when the MCAS triggered

  • is that the airplane would not give control

  • back to the pilots.

  • It would continue to put the airplane

  • in a nose-down position.

  • And even when the pilots recognized

  • that maybe there was a problem with this system

  • and tried to turn it off, the forces on the tail

  • were so great that they were unable

  • to physically override the nose-down.

  • Narrator: Pilots also lacked

  • proper training with the MCAS.

  • They were trained on an iPad instead of a simulator

  • to cut costs and shorten training time.

  • And the two planes that crashed

  • didn't have the optional angle-of-attack safety feature

  • that could have alerted pilots

  • if the plane was pointing in the wrong direction,

  • and that Boeing charged extra for.

  • Sinéad Baker: So this increased public mistrust of Boeing

  • is probably a result of both the two fatal crashes,

  • but also how Boeing responded to them.

  • The public is definitely skeptical of Boeing

  • after these two crashes.

  • A recent poll found that 41% of Americans

  • wouldn't fly on the 737 Max until it was back in service

  • for six months and there were no incidents.

  • It took Boeing almost a month to issue an apology,

  • to say, "I'm sorry for the first time."

  • And, in the meantime, the US was slow to ground the planes

  • compared to other countries, which maybe made people feel

  • like the US and its safety regulators

  • couldn't be fully trusted.

  • Narrator: Experts say that this was a mistake,

  • that it made Boeing look insincere,

  • and that it prioritized profit over people.

  • Irv Schenkler: Had they opened up, had the CEO

  • or another senior executive

  • spoken to this more general sense of concern,

  • indicating that the company is doing everything it can

  • as soon as it can to find out more and will report back,

  • that could have at least lessened the sense

  • that the company was being evasive.

  • Narrator: Boeing's slow response has cost them.

  • The company wasn't able to sell any 737 Maxes

  • for three months after they were grounded in March.

  • Baker: Boeing is doing a lot of things at the moment

  • in an attempt to win back people's trust.

  • They've been apologizing more frequently,

  • they've been offering to fly their CEO first on the plane

  • in a bid to prove that it's safe,

  • and they've also been organizing more sales of the plane

  • to prove just how confident

  • the industry still is in the jet.

  • Narrator: During the 2019 Paris Air Show,

  • Boeing announced its first buyer

  • since the 737 Max grounding.

  • International Airlines Group,

  • the parent company of British Airways and other airlines,

  • placed an order for 200 737 Max planes.

  • While the deal would normally carry a list price

  • of $24 billion, it was likely discounted

  • because of Boeing's current woes.

  • Though the planes won't start to be delivered until 2023,

  • the sale gives the company a much-needed vote of confidence.

  • Schenkler: You can't manage a crisis, but you can definitely

  • manage how you communicate about it.

  • They need to be able to get affirmation

  • from individuals and groups who are credible

  • and who were perhaps skeptical and who could indicate

  • that the company is righting its wrongs,

  • and that would go, I think, a long way

  • towards ultimately regaining a degree of trust.

  • But, again, it's a slow process.

  • Narrator: Boeing may have gained support

  • from certain airlines.

  • But the company also needs to show pilots,

  • flight attendants, regulators, and the general public

  • that it cares, through words and actions,

  • that its planes are safe to fly

  • and that the company can be trusted.

  • Negroni: Boeing knows that the 737 Max cannot survive

  • another event with this MCAS system.

  • So nobody wants the fix to work more than Boeing.

  • We can rest assured that its desire is there.

  • Is it capable of understanding all the potential faults,

  • all the potential pathways, and all of the required remedies

  • and instituting them is the next question.

  • Narrator: One thing Boeing should definitely do?

  • Show it is listening to experts

  • and voices from outside the company.

  • Negroni: I think Boeing needs to be opened to the media.

  • I think Boeing needs to stop shutting out reporters

  • and stop closing down and obstacating

  • when legitimate questions are raised,

  • because I don't think it does them any good.

  • Narrator: The crisis has already been pretty expensive

  • for the company, and it's likely to cost them even more.

  • Baker: In the first quarter of the year, it lost $1 billion.

  • And airlines around the world

  • now want compensation from Boeing, even those who say

  • that they still completely trust Boeing and the plane.

  • It's also facing lawsuits from families around the world,

  • some for hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • So, chances are, this whole thing

  • is going to cost Boeing billions.

  • Narrator: There's no telling when the 737 Max

  • will be cleared to fly again.

  • Recent reports indicate that

  • the software fix may not even work

  • and that the plane might require a hardware fix,

  • which would be even more expensive

  • and take even more time.

  • But experts do believe that Boeing

  • has a chance to recover from this.

  • The company has to be much more open

  • about what it is doing, while also making sure

  • that there are no more issues with its planes.

  • Negroni: I think it's probably 60/40 that Boeing

  • commercial aircraft will recover from this.

  • But I definitely think that they've been shaken up

  • enough to know they have to change their ways.

  • Narrator: What do you think?

  • Would you fly on a 737 Max

  • when airlines start using them again?

  • Let us know in the comments.

Narrator: The Boeing 737 Max

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What's Next For Boeing?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/25
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