On this week’s episode of Lever Time, David Sirota is joined by Bill McGee, a Senior Fellow for Aviation and Travel at the American Economic Liberties Project, and investigative journalist Maureen “Moe” Tkacik to discuss how the air travel industry has been transformed from the paragon of engineering and innovation into cost-cutting, regulation-dodging piggy banks for Wall Street investors.
A transcript of this episode is available here.
Last Friday, Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 experienced what could have been a deadly disaster when a plug door was ripped from the plane mid-flight. Luckily, no one was killed and there were only a few minor injuries. But this incident spotlights what critics say is a systemic problem in airline manufacturing and oversight: years of cutting costs, spurred by the Wall Street-ification of companies like aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
This past week, The Lever reported that employees at Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing’s main subcontractor for plug doors and other parts of the frame, allegedly warned the company about safety issues but were instructed to falsify documents instead. Incidents like these may have resulted from companies like Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems chasing higher profit margins at the expense of quality manufacturing and service.
In today’s interview, David, Bill, and Moe discuss how airlines' demands to cram passengers into planes may have resulted in this past week’s Alaska Airlines technical malfunction. Bill and Moe also explain how the airline regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration have been asleep at the wheel for decades when it comes to oversight, and how the profit-driven corporate governance at companies like Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems has contributed to this sprawling crisis.
- Boeing Supplier Ignored Warnings Of “Excessive Amount Of Defects,” Former Employees Allege (The Lever, 2023)
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