Continued safety concerns at Boeing have led to a loss of confidence and placed the aircraft maker in what the President of Emirates has called the “last chance saloon.”
Crisis Of Confidence: Emirates Boss Says Boeing Has No More Room For Error
Referring to its customers in response to the latest Boeing 737 MAX embarrassment, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun recently said:
“We understand why they are angry, and we will work to earn their confidence.”
But that assurance is not good enough for every customer.
Emirates president Sir Tim Clark is not only a respected titan of the airline industry, but a huge Boeing customer. Last November, Emirates placed an order for 95 Boeing 777 and 787 jets Clark told BBC:
“They have got to instill this safety culture which is second to none. They’ve got to get their manufacturing processes under review so there are no corners cut…I’m sure Dave Calhoun and Stan Deal are on that… this is the last chance saloon.”
(Stan Deal is CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes)
“Last Chance Saloon was a popular name of a type of bar in the United States that began to appear in the 19th century as an early expression of border economics. Saloons situated near areas where alcohol was not easily obtainable frequently took the name as a literal indication to customers that this was their final opportunity to imbibe before progressing to an area where obtaining, selling or drinking alcoholic drinks was prohibited.”
But rather than simply trust Boeing to make the needed reforms in terms of quality control and its culture of safety, Emirates is going one step further. For the first time, Clark will send Emirates engineers to monitor Boeing’s production lines. Emirates engineers will observe not only the production process of the 777 at Boeing, but also at Spirit AeroSystems, which is a primary supplier to Boeing.
Airbus cannot possibly accommodate all demand, leaving Boeing in a position of muted strength. But if Boeing does not get its act together, its reputation will not recover and its ability to win competitive orders in the long term will decline. If I were at Boeing, I would take Clark’s warning very seriously…