Internal messages released by Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) have revealed that employees at the company had ridiculed the design of its 737 MAX aircraft prior to two fatal crashes, with one exchange saying the plane was “designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys”.
Another instant messaging conversation in February 2018, eight months before the first fatal MAX crash in Indonesia, an employee asked another if they would put their family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft, to which the other replied, “no”.
The documents revealed that Boeing had attempted to avoid making pilot simulator training a requirement for the MAX, possibly in an effort to reduce costs and production time.
The company was also shown to have tried to lobby aviation regulators to avoid the need for pilot training, with a 2017 email from Boeing’s 737 chief technical pilot saying that there would “not be any type of simulator training required” to transition from the 737 MAX from its sister plane, the 737 NG.
“Boeing will not allow that to happen. We’ll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that a requirement”, the email read.
Other messages appeared to paint a picture of a work culture that prioritised the finding of cheap suppliers and work to what one disclosure said were “impossible schedules”.
All MAX’s are currently still grounded after regulators across the world began banning the craft from their airspaces in the wake of the crashes.
The fallout has also caused heads to roll in the boardroom after Boeing’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg was ousted in December as a result of the scandal. However, the new messages may now threaten his successor, company president and CEO-designate Dave Calhoun.
Boeing’s shares were down 0.4% at US$335 in pre-market trading in New York on Friday.