Former Boeing senior manager says he would not fly on a 737 Max airplane. Here's why

Kristen Sze Image
Thursday, February 1, 2024
Former Boeing manager explains why he would not fly on a Max airplane
Foundation for Aviation Safety's Ed Pierson, a former senior manager at Boeing, joined ABC7's "Getting Answers" to discuss 737 Max safety.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Boeing shares fell Wednesday as shareholders slapped the plane maker with a lawsuit. This is the latest fallout after a Boeing 737 Max 9 flown by Alaska Airlines had a door plug blow out mid-air, which could have led to disaster.

MORE: What to know if you're about to fly on a Boeing Max 9

Although the FAA has now allowed that type of aircraft back in the air after inspecting every single one of them, one former senior Boeing manager says he would "absolutely not" fly a Max airplane right now.

Ed Pierson, who is now executive director of the aviation watchdog group Foundation for Aviation Safety after retiring from Boeing in 2018, joined ABC7's "Getting Answers" to discuss his views.

"Unfortunately, this problem has been going on for several years, and what we've seen is pressure being placed on employees that work in the factory to produce these airplanes," Pierson said. "Everybody can relate to schedule pressure in any job, but when you're building an airplane, you can't afford to have those kinds of issues. And those planes are being pushed out and we've looked at the data, incident report data, and there's been unfortunately at least 20 serious production quality defects that have come to light in the past couple years."

RELATED: Alaska Airlines passengers sue over door plug blowout: 'This is the end'

"So, all these indicators are telling us that the plane is not really safe."

When asked if he still feels that way after recent inspections that were required of each plane put back in the sky, Pierson said, "We've all heard the story about maybe there were some missing bolts or some hardware... but if you had a new car that had a part fall off of it and you had to pull over to the side of the road and then you went to the shop and the mechanic said, 'hey I'm finding some other things wrong with it but here you go, ready to go get out on the road,' you would probably have some questions about has anything else been missed. So that's a concern that we've had."

You can watch the full interview in the video player above.

VIDEO: Boeing's 737 Max 9 planes begin landing in SFO after being grounded for 3 weeks

Alaska Airlines flight 535 is thought to be the first 737 Max 9 plane to land at SFO since the FAA grounded the Boeing jets three weeks ago.
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