“It is the aircraft manufacturer that picks up, which is visible, because it is the name Boeing. But in reality, it is the engine manufacturer who has a problem”, Explained former aviator Xavier Tytelman, after Boeing decided to stop 128 planes because of a flight incident on one of them.
franceinfo: Can we say that Boeing is going through an unprecedented crisis? We’re beyond the black series, aren’t we?
It is above all that he is unlucky. Because in this case, on this last event, it is not his fault. It is the aircraft manufacturer that picks up, which is visible, because it is the name Boeing. But in reality, it is the engine manufacturer who has a problem. We’re on a Pratt & Whitney. It could have been an engine on an Airbus as well. There is no problem with the Boeing 777s on the General Electrics brand, for example, those fitted to Air France. So the media coverage, the black series, is visibly on the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, when in reality, it is not him who is at fault in this last event. There are different cases, one after the other: on the 737 Max in particular, we have talked about it a lot. There, obviously, there are mistakes that were made during the design of the aircraft. They are now repaired and the rest are not attributable to Boeing. Unfortunately, it is still they who are in the spotlight.
Is it bad luck then?
It turns out that there is really bad luck because this engine manufacturer supplied systems that were unfortunately poorly designed, with systems that were not verified. And in particular, we see that the United States, on this point, are also at fault since we do not have the same rates of maintenance and verification of systems in the United States and in Europe. We saw a somewhat similar case three years ago. In February 2018, the same plane, the same type of engine had the same problem. A priori, they had not taken the necessary measures to correct this defect so that it could no longer occur. We had the same thing with a 737 NG which had had an engine explosion in the same way and at the time, we realized that in the United States, the maintenance rate was lower than in Europe for engine testing. So, today, we must also question the way to maintain the engines and to follow them.
What could be the consequences for Boeing all the same?
Very clearly, the Boeing 737 Max was at fault. Boeing designed an aircraft that failed, US security officials didn’t check, didn’t realize there was a problem at the time. Everything has been done to correct. But obviously, Boeing is in a black hole because there are costs, because it costs billions and we have tens of billions of euros in losses. Boeing’s losses are almost 10 times higher than those of Airbus last year because there are a lot of reimbursements to be made, order cancellations. Today, to put it simply, the professional aviation community does not question Boeing’s ability to provide safety and produce aircraft that are reliable. But from a general public point of view, there is a repetition which is also linked to the fact that Boeing is an aircraft manufacturer which is older: the Boeing 737s began to be delivered in the 1960s. At the time, Airbus no ‘didn’t even exist. And these very old planes that are sometimes poorly maintained continue to fly in precarious conditions in countries that are on the blacklist and that we regularly have Boeing accidents which give the impression that it is Boeing’s fault, when in reality, it is also airplanes that are poorly maintained and very old. This cannot happen to Airbus since the Airbus fleet is younger and newer.
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