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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Boeing Faces Safety Concerns After Plane Incident

Steve Knight

On Jan. 5, 2024, a panel flew off a Boeing 737 Max 9 plane a few minutes after takeoff. Alaska Airlines pilots safely landed the plane, but the malfunction raised concerns about Boeing’s ability to produce safe aircrafts.

After the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all Max 9 planes in the United States. Boeing paid Alaska Airlines $160 million as compensation for lost revenue and costs associated with the three-week grounding, according to AP News. 

Boeing faced similar manufacturing issues in 2018 when a Boeing 737 Max crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people. Another Boeing 737 Max crashed in Ethiopia in 2019, killing 157 people. 

In testimony before the Senate and House committees in October of 2019, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg took accountability for the aircraft’s malfunctions before being fired two months later.

Boeing said in a statement that the termination was “necessary to restore confidence [and] repair relationships with regulators, customers and all other stakeholders.” David Calhoun, who assumed the CEO role in 2020, was fired after this year’s Alaska Max 9 incident. 

Last month, former Boeing employee John Barnett died by suicide only days after providing evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the company. The Senate Commerce Committee has documented other whistleblowers’ concerns, including former factory manager Ed Pierson’s assertion that relentless schedule pressure has contributed to quality control problems.

“I’ve never been scared of planes, but after some of the crashes, I’ve been a little hesitant,” said sophomore Julia Bertele, “I think that Boeing’s troubles show how important it is for airplanes to be safe.” 

Sophomore Eppie Hughes-Jennet added that she was unaware of the 2018 and 2019 crashes, but she had seen videos of the plane door blowing off on TikTok and Instagram platforms. While she admits these incidents make her nervous, she still feels comfortable traveling on planes.

Junior Grace Keyes followed the news closely because she “always had a fear of planes” and “is terrified to fly because of all the…[events] happening with Boeing planes.”

Investigations into Boeing and its manufacturing processes will continue, and the public continues to question how Boeing will adequately address safety concerns.

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About the Contributor
Lilah Baez '26
Lilah Baez '26, News Editor
Lilah Baez is currently a News Editor for Horizon. Prior to this, she worked as a Staff Writer for the newspaper.
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