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Boeing reports huge quarterly earnings miss as 737 Max crisis deepens

Leaked messages revealed recently that Boeing’s former lead pilot had warned about problems with the flight-control systems, saying he was “Jedi mind-tricking regulators.”
Image: A Boeing 737 Max airplane at Boeing Field in Seattle on Oct. 20, 2019.
A Boeing 737 Max at Boeing Field in Seattle. Gary He / Reuters
/ Source:

Boeing reported third-quarter earnings of $1.45 a share, versus $2.09 expected, as the aerospace giant faces a crisis with its top-selling 737 Max aircraft line.

The company has been under scrutiny after two deadly Boeing 737 Max crashes killed a combined 346 people in the past year.

Boeing took a $4.9 billion after-tax charter in the previous quarter, for funds to compensate airlines for the FAA’s grounding of the 737 Max planes in service.

Although Boeing has developed a software fix for the implicated flight-control system that misfired in both crashes, federal regulators have yet to set a timeline for the certifying the 737 Max for flight. Additionally, last week the public learned that Boeing’s former lead pilot had warned about problems with the flight-control systems. That pilot, Mark Forkner, said in an email to an FAA official that he was “Jedi mind-tricking regulators into accepting the training that I got accepted by FAA etc.”

The FAA last week said Boeing withheld these “concerning” messages for months from regulators.

The crisis has now seen two executive leadership changes in the past month, with the removal of the head of Boeing’s commercial airplane division Kevin McAllister shortly following the board stripping CEO Dennis Muilenburg of his chairman role.

Muilenburg is scheduled to testify before a Congressional transportation panel on Oct. 30.