But will people still refuse to board? No one wants to talk about that.
What passengers now want to know is how to avoid that bad plane. Everyone who has watched TV has seen the Ethiopian crash site and the wailing family members looking at a disintegrated jet with no parts longer than a foot strewn in a ditch and over a mound of raw earth splashed with aviation fuel.
“Boeing has claimed it has been working on a fix since after the Lion Air crash at least four months ago but keeps extending the time,” said FlyersRights.org President Paul Hudson.
“The 737 MAX should be fixed if possible,” he said. “But the fixes must be tested by experts outside Boeing and outside the FAA as well.”
Boeing claimed that all the pilots would have needed to do was hit a couple of switches and problem would have been solved. Uh, no.
“It may be more than new software and training is required,” Hudson said. “The job may require new hardware and plane recalls, or it may require that the 737 MAX be scrapped and re-designed with a wider and shorter fuselage from scratch.”
Boeing lobbyists are swarming
Capitol Hill. The company has 100 full-time lobbyists in Washington, D.C. And lots of friends.
More than 300 members of Congress regularly take campaign cash
The airlines shower politicians with complimentary ticket upgrades, amenities, waivers of fees for reservation changes, priority boarding, and VIP escorts.
There are some good signs. Hearings have started in the Senate and House of Representatives. The DOT’s inspector general has initiated an investigation. Lawyers for the next of kin will be filing tort lawsuits. The press is actually digging in.
Still, FlyersRights.org’s fear remains: It’s all going to come out Boeing, no fighting it.
A plane determined to crash itself
The underlying problem was not the software
, but a basic design challenge of the Boeing 737 MAX – an aerodynamic instability.
When Boeing increased the size of the engines and placed them higher and more forward, it destabilized the fuselage. This led to the potential of stall, which led to miscues by inadequate software.
To get a grip on this, FlyersRights.org wants to make sure these planes aren’t put back up in the air only because Boeing is fearing more order cancellations from countries around the world.
Boeing executives reportedly pressured engineers and stifled technical dissent in order to get this plane airborne quickly to compete with Airbus.
If they want to compete with Airbus, they’d better tell the American people why Airbus doesn’t have these defects.
“Boeing cannot fix the 346 shattered, grief-stricken families and restore the lost lives of their loved ones,” said Hudson. “But it can fully cooperate with the investigations and with the family representatives for compensation.
“It can admit and not cover up its fault. It can discharge or discipline any employee who put sales over safety of the 737 MAX. It can help fix and not hinder reform of the deeply flawed and conflicted air-safety self-regulation system it demanded and largely created with the FAA.”