Today, the crash of a jetliner holds numerous ramifications. Lawsuits typically ensue when an accident causes injuries and deaths. Boeing, one of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the United States, revealed this week that the company would replace its Chief Executive Officer after he failed to prevent a controversy from escalating and attracting ongoing media attention. Boeing Chairman David Calhoun will assume Dennis Muilenburg’s vacated post on January 13, 2020, reports Wall Street Journal.
Deadly Plane Crashes
Boeing became enmeshed in legal disputes following two tragic recent airline disasters involving its 737 MAX passenger jets. In October, 2018, a 737 MAX aircraft manufactured by Boeing inexplicably crashed in Indonesia, killing everyone on board. A second fatal accident involving the same brand occurred in Ethiopia in March, 2019. The two crashes caused a total of 346 deaths.
Federal regulators asked Boeing to ground its 737 MAX aircraft following the second disaster. Concern surrounding the source of the malfunctions created a whirlwind of media controversy. The accidents also sparked extensive legal filings. Following the accident in Ethiopia, for example, people purporting to represent U.S. legal firms reportedly began contacting many of the survivors of crash victims in Ethiopia, seeking permission to represent them in future actions. Boeing currently finds itself defending some 114 lawsuits filed in Chicago as a result of the air disasters.
A Crisis of Confidence
The ongoing media attention surrounding the 737 MAX line and the recent court filings hold the potential to keep the recent air disasters as a focus of media attention during coming months. The tragedy has reportedly already imposed significant financial costs upon the aircraft manufacturer. Some reports indicate Boeing will have sustained an estimated loss of $9 billion by the end of 2019. Its financial setbacks might adversely impact the U.S. economy in the opinion of some experts.
During the brief interim period between the departure of Boeing’s previous CEO and the arrival of its new CEO, CFO Greg Smith assumes responsibility for managing the firm. The decision to replace Mr. Muilenburg reportedly originated at the level of the company’s Board of Directors. Some sources indicate the departing CEO may qualify to receive a $39 million severance package.