Good things are happening! Federal regulators are now investigating Boeing and its longtime subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems after a series of Lever reports revealed widespread corporate malfeasance following a terrifying plane malfunction.
Boeing and Spirit made headlines recently after a door plug manufactured by Spirit blew off of a Boeing 737 Max plane mid-flight over Portland, Oregon. The high-altitude debacle comes after two 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 together killed 346 people and another fatal incident in 2018 saw a woman partially sucked out of a plane when a small engine explosion shattered a window.
The Lever’s breaking story on Monday detailed reports of a toxic work culture at Spirit, where employees were allegedly told to falsify safety records and were reportedly fired for speaking out. Then we uncovered how Boeing lobbied for weakened safety regulations and a boost in production levels by spending tens of millions in Washington
On Thursday, The Lever detailed how former South Carolina governor and current GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley helped kill a plan to force Boeing to fully disclose its political spending — part of an ongoing battle for more oversight of the company’s political efforts.
And on Lever Time this week, David Sirota and his podcast guests explored 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 — and how that shift could now be endangering airline passengers.
Now here’s the good news.
Thanks in part to our reporting, federal regulators are finally getting their act together and investigating the two companies behind the current debacle. The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the airlines industry, announced Friday that it is opening an investigation into Boeing’s quality control process, saying in part that the door plug blowout “should have never happened and it cannot happen again.”
“This is long overdue,” former Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and former chair of the House Transportation Committee, told The Lever. “It’s inconceivable that Boeing managers, top managers, and CEO didn’t know that Spirit AeroSystems was producing shoddy products, but [Boeing] was happy with it because it was cheap. Just like everything else, [Boeing] is chasing the bottom line instead of the way the company used to be, which was the greatest, safest engineering aerospace company in the world.”
Spirit is also being investigated by the FAA, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
DeFazio noted that the investigations into Spirit and Boeing constitute a “big step” in the right direction, and he credits The Lever and other news outlets for pushing regulators to investigate the issue.
“I think the press covering people who are blowing whistles, [The Lever’s] investigative work, it’s all added up to get us to this point where, finally, Boeing is going to be held to account,” DeFazio said.