Boeing 737 Crisis Management 

Boeing is the world’s leading airplane-manufacturing American multinational company. The company developed the Boeing 737 Max model series and received its approval from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in 2017. Many industry experts considered the 737 model to be the game changer with the narrow-shaped body with fuel efficiency features. However, the 737 model faced a series of tragic accidental events and they jeopardized the company’s reputation. Today, we’ll discuss Boeing 737 crisis management; crisis events, strategic approach, communication strategy, and corrective of Boeing to deal with the crisis. 

Crisis Events to Boeing 737 Max

Let’s discuss the crisis events of Boeing 737 Max in Boeing crisis management; they’re as follows; 

Lion Air Flight 610

The Lion Air Flights of Boeing 737 Max fell into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018. It resulted in the form of 189 casualties including all the passengers, cabin crew staff, and pilots. However, the investigation report showed that it happened due to the malfunctioning of the sensors impacting the MCAS (maneuvering characteristics of augmentation systems). The design of the automated control system was to improve stability. 

In order to regain control over the airplane in the overwhelming situation, pilots pressed the MCAS multiple times and lost control causing the plane to keep moving downward.  It raised questions over the flight control system of the airplane. 

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

Ethiopian Airline Flight 302 crashed after taking from Addis Ababa, Kenya in 2019. The aircraft crash resulted in the form of 157 casualties including all the passengers and cabin crew. However, the aircraft was from the Boeing 737 Max model and the accident happened due to the failure of the MCAS system 

Investigation Result 

After the aircraft crash incidents, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) grounded all the Boeing 737 Max fleet in the US. In order to find out the root cause of the problem, the investigation started comprising Boeing engineers, other airlines, FAA, and industry experts. The objective comprised of the following; 

  • Comprehending the functionality and design of the MCAS system 
  • Overlooked potential safety issues 
  • Conducting training programs for pilots 
  • The result of the investigation showed the following; 
  • Flaws in the operations and designs of the MCAS system 
  • Limited training of pilots on how to manage the potential failure mode
  • Questioning the certification of Boeing 737 Max model 

Strategic Approach of Boeing 737 Crisis Management 

The two incidents of aircraft crashing brought a lot of criticism to the company. Let’s discuss the strategic approach of Boeing 737 crisis management; they’re as follows; 

Late Acknowledgement 

The initial response of the company was late and it didn’t show any acknowledgement of the crisis with limited transparency. It took a few days for the company Boeing to send condolences to the families of the victims. However, it showed the limited commitment of the aviation company to accountability, transparency, and acknowledgment. 

Limited Transparency 

The delayed acknowledgment of the accident relevant to the failure of the MCAS system showed Boeing’s limited commitment and interest in public safety and trust. Many thought that the company was withholding the key information, and it further jeopardized the trust and confidence of customers. 

However, many industry experts criticized Boeing for the failure of the MCAS system and the company didn’t disclose the MCAS system information to the pilots. It raised serious concerns about the transparency of the company and limited comprehension of the MCAS system in case of failure. 

Underestimating Severity 

When the accidents happened, Boeing kept saying that its airplanes were safer flights and the pilots didn’t need any additional training relevant to the usage of the MCAS system. It created a perception among the general public and the audience that the company was underestimating the severity of the whole crisis event. 

Limited Communication 

The initial response of Boeing showed the limited communication transparency of the company with limited engagement with the regulatory authority, media, and public. It gave the impression that the company hadn’t consulted with other parties and had no concern with the perspectives of industry experts. Many rumors started spreading among the public that Boeing only cared about its brand image rather than the safety of people. 

Overlooking Regulatory 

The crisis event and Boeing’s response raised questions about the company’s relations with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). People also started questioning the FAA why they issued certification and license to the Boeing 737 Max model. In fact, they started raising concerns about the integrity of the FAA. 

Communication Strategy of Boeing 737 Max Crisis Management  

Let’s discuss the communication strategy of Boeing 737 crisis management; they’re as follows; 

  • The delayed response brought a lot of criticism to Boeing and negatively impacted the company’s reputation, trust, and confidence. 
  • Withholding the key information about the MCAS system criticized the company for limited transparency triggered many rumors and concerns 
  • Boeing media statements showed over-confidence in the company on the Boeing 737 Max model and the pilots didn’t require any additional training for its functioning 
  • Media communication of Boeing showed its disconnection with the failure of the 737 model and no interest in public safety 
  • Boeing needed to provide an update on the investigation, but it was not transparent and had inconsistencies 

Corrective Actions of Boeing Crisis Management 

Some of main the corrective actions of Boeing crisis management to manage the crises are as follows; 

  • Updating the software to amplify the pilot control and updating the activation criteria to manage the defects in the MCAS system 
  • Launching the pilot training programs for the MCAS system of the Boeing 737 Max to avoid any potential issues; improved the comprehension of pilots towards the new system 
  • Collaborating with the regulatory department FAA to update and approve the new system to ensure that it complies with legal requirements 
  • Conducted independent review study by industry experts outside the company to analyze the safety measures and protocols of the company

Conclusion: Boeing 737 Max Crisis Management | Strategic Crisis Communication of Boeing 737 Max 

After an in-depth study of the Boeing 737 crisis management; we have realized that Boeing is the world’s leading aircraft manufacturing company. If you are learning about Boeing crisis communication; then you should keep in mind the abovementioned crisis event; strategic approach of the company; communication strategy, and corrective actions of Boeing to manage the crisis. 

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