Boeing Co. released a new batch of internal messages in which company employees discussed deep unease with the 737 Max and problems in flight simulators used to train pilots on the new jetliner, while also trying to avert greater regulator scrutiny of the plane.
“This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys,” said one company pilot in messages to a colleague in 2016, which Boeing disclosed publicly late Thursday. The company had already provided the documents to lawmakers and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, who are investigating the 737 Max and the process that cleared it to fly.
The communications threaten to upend Boeing’s efforts to rebuild public trust in the 737 Max, which has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes. That will add to the hurdles for David Calhoun, a longtime board member who will take over on Jan. 13 as chief executive officer from Dennis Muilenburg, who was ousted last month.
“These newly-released emails are incredibly damning,” said U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who chairs a committee that is investigating Boeing and the Max.
“They paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally,” DeFazio said in a statement.