Blame Boeing’s Culture for the 737’s Problems

Cutting corners and self-regulation led to the crisis at Boeing, says one journalist. Where do we go from here?

After two deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets, the company has faced immense scrutiny culminating in the grounding of the 737 Max model. The tragedy has brought to light issues of corporate oversight, government regulation and the sustainability of air travel. 

“These problems were building for years at Boeing.” – Alec MacGillis, journalist

Click on the player above to hear how Boeing lost sight of customer safety. 


Alec MacGillis joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to discuss his piece published in The New Yorker in 2019, “The Case Against Boeing”.

The unraveling at Boeing after the two crashes seemed to happen overnight, but MacGillis says there were cracks forming in the foundation of the company for decades.

“These problems were building for years at Boeing,” says MacGillis. Boeing’s identity was that of a company that prioritized impeccable engineering. Priorities shifted in the 1990’s toward the company’s bottom line and profits, says MacGillis.

The conception of the 737 Max was in born out of a cost-cutting mindset. The company was able to cut corners in part due to lax government regulations and its presence on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist, says MacGillis. The current reckoning at Boeing couple with the increased awareness of climate impacts has left the air travel industry in precarious, uncharted territory. 

Further Reading

The Case Against Boeing

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  • Detroit Today

    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.