Boeing CEO Hammered by Questions in the Senate

By: David Donovan | Published: Jun 19, 2024

A Senate panel slammed Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun on Tuesday for the company’s safety and quality issues, a slew of whistleblower allegations of company retaliation and corner-cutting, and his own compensation package.

Calhoun, who said in Spring that he will step down near year’s end, supported the planemaker’s activities to attempt to further develop manufacturing quality and to fix its marred safety reputation directly following a midair door-panel blowout on an Alaskan Airlines trip in January.

Calhoun Replacement

The organization has still not named a trade for Calhoun, who took over after its past chief was removed for the treatment of two lethal Boeing crashes.

Boeing's offices in Arlington County, Virginia, the corporate headquarters of the company as of 2022.

Flickr user mr_t_77

Calhoun stated: “Much has been said about Boeing’s culture. We’ve heard those concerns loud and clear. Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress.”


Whistleblower Claims

Hours before the meeting the Senate subcommittee delivered whistleblower claims on Tuesday from Sam Mohawk, a quality-assurance investigator at Boeing, claiming the organization forgot about parts that were damaged or not up to scratch and that “those parts are likely being installed on airplanes.” 

Secretary Geithner toured a Boeing 737 plant in Renton, WA on May 18, 2010.

Flickr user U.S. Department of the Treasury

Mohawk flagged components that were produced at Boeing’s Renton, Washington, plant, where the company manufactures its most popular 737 Max.

Retaliation Target

A memo that was distributed by the committee on Tuesday stated that Mohawk claimed he was the target of retaliation and that supervisors instructed him to conceal evidence from the Federal Aviation Administration. 

site of Boeing widebody assembly, 747, 777, 787 in Everett Plant

Flickr user Maurice King

According to the memo, Mohawk alleged in claims with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that dozens of crucial components, including 42 rudders, winglets, and stabilizers, were stored outside during an FAA inspection.

Mohawk’s Complaint

According to Mohawk’s complaint, which the subcommittee also made public, Boeing issued a written warning against Mohawk stating that he engaged in “unacceptable/disruptive behavior or communication.” 

On February 17, 2017, Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston, SC rolled out the first 787-10. US President Donald Trump (POTUS) was in attendance at the ceremony.

Flickr user North Charleston

It said he could be “discharged” if his behavior continued. Mohawk also said that during his shift, the company cut back on staff, making it harder to finish things.

Boeing Response

The company received the claims on Monday night and is reviewing them, according to a Boeing spokeswoman.

Two engineers adjusting a piece of plane equipment

X user Boeing

According to her: “We continuously encourage employees to report all concerns as our priority is to ensure the safety of our airplanes and the flying public.”


Report Increases

Since the door-plug blowout in January, the FAA said that the number of reports from Boeing employees has increased.

The Wilbur Wright Federal Building, also known as Federal Office Building 10B, is located at 600 Independence Avenue SW, in Washington, D.C.

Wikimedia Commons user MBisanz

“We thoroughly investigate every report, including allegations uncovered in the Senate’s work,” the organization said Tuesday. The FAA declined to discuss the particulars of the most recent allegations.


Past Settlements

Boeing’s situation is made even more complicated by the hearing and the new claims made by whistleblowers.

Technician using a virtual tablet in an airplane hanger with an airplane behind him.

X user Boeing

The Justice Department said last month that the plane maker violated a 2021 settlement related to the 346 deaths in 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 that could result in U.S. prosecution.


Agreement Lapsing

Just a few days after the Alaska Airlines incident in January, that agreement, which shielded the company and its executives from criminal charges connected to the crashes, would have come to an end. The Department of Justice has until July 7 to choose whether to indict.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR/CYVR), Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, Alaska Airlines plane landing Boeing 737

Wikimedia Commons user Makaristos

The hearing on Tuesday was attended by a number of the victims’ families. Late last month, relatives of Max crash victims met with DOJ officials to demand prosecution.


Calhoun’s Apology

Toward the beginning of the meeting, Calhoun stood and apologized to the casualties’ families, a significant number of whom held photographs of their lost friends and family.

Richard Blumenthal with three veterans having a discussion

X user SenBlumenthal

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., stated, “We’re here because we want Boeing to succeed.” But he went on to say: “It’s not enough for Boeing to shrug its shoulders and say, ‘Mistakes happen.”


Blumenthal’s Questioning

Blumenthal held up a document and referred to it as “complete gobbledygook” as he lashed out against Boeing’s responses to the subcommittee’s request for additional information.

Richard Blumenthal addressing Shubert New Haven at a podium with people standing behind him.

X user SenBlumenthal

The organization is attempting to get rid of quality imperfections on jets and lessen supposed traveled work in which production steps are finished out of order, something it has done to address defects. 


Boeing’s Defence

Last month, Boeing highlighted a large group of different changes to urge laborers to make speak up about issues in its manufacturing plants after a few informants raised worries about quality issues and retaliation.

Boeing aircraft outside of a hanger with people on the ground in fluorescent vests.

X user Boeing

Calhoun defended the company’s handling of whistleblowers and claimed that some employees had been fired as a result of retaliation. However, he did not name the employees because he wanted to protect their privacy.

R-Mo. senator Josh Hawley blamed Calhoun and Boeing for “strip mining” the organization by compromising and reprimanded his remuneration package of almost $33 million, up 45% last year from 2022.