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OPINION - Boeing Emails Explain Nothing


Where were the acerbic, scathing employees when MCAS was designed?

A Boeing 737 MAX in Renton, Wash., Dec. 16, 2019. PHOTO: LINDSEY WASSON/REUTERS
The latest crop of Boeing emails is a torment to the company in its struggle to get the 737 MAX into the air, but a secret that should not be a secret is that all of corporate America, not just Boeing, lives these days by employing creative, freethinking people who spout off acerbically, critically and colorfully in electronic messages.

Think of the Sony emails leaked by presumed North Korean hackers. My own corporate overlords in the media business have lived in this world longer than most. When a General Mills executive was hired to cut costs at the Los Angeles Times in 1995, the newsroom immediately dubbed him the “cereal killer.” The executive was philosophical. After all, his new company employed too many sardonic, highly verbal people to expect anything else.

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Boeing Orders Fall to 16-Year Low

Aerospace giant’s deliveries also slump to 380 jets, the lowest since 2005

Boeing Co. said deliveries and new orders for its jetliners hit their lowest point in more than a decade as the global grounding of the 737 MAX undermined the aerospace giant’s business.

The U.S. plane maker in 2019 handed over 380 aircraft, including military versions of its jetliners, a 14-year-low that compares with a record 863 deliveries by European rival Airbus SE. Boeing delivered 806 planes in 2018, a high for the company.

The Chicago-based company last year brought in new orders for 246 commercial jets of all types, its lowest tally before cancellations and model swaps since 2003.

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Iran’s Plane Shootdown Sparks Anger at Home

Iran’s admission that its armed forces shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner appeared intended to salvage its credibility at a time of heightened international tension and domestic unrest. Instead, it triggered quick anger from Iranians aimed at the country’s leadership.

Security forces in Tehran fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people who took to the streets in protest against the military, which on Saturday acknowledged shooting down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 by mistake.

Some Iranians blamed their leadership for incompetence and for lying during the first three days after the crash when it denied Western claims the plane had been hit by an Iranian missile, killing 176 people. Hundreds gathered outside Amirkabir University of Technology in the capital, where some young men tore down posters of Qassem Soleimani, the prominent general who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad last week and mourned as a national hero.

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Airplanes Can’t Outfly Their Carbon Emissions

There is no easy way out of “flight shame.”

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s warnings against air travel seem to be having an effect, particularly in Europe. In a recent survey by Swiss bank UBS, 21% of respondents in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France said they had cut back on flying this year. Perhaps more importantly, lawmakers are listening: Starting next year, France will impose a tax on outbound flight tickets.

Airlines are looking for ways to clean themselves up. Last week, U.K. budget carrier EasyJet said it would become the first major airline to operate with net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by buying carbon offsets. British Airways -owner IAG recently said it was on its own path toward carbon neutrality in 2050.

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