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Senate Grills Boeing CEO On Safety Failures And Whistleblower Claims

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Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun faced backlash from a Senate panel for the company’s safety and quality lapses, whistleblower allegations, and his own pay package. 

Calhoun, who plans to step down by the end of the year, defended Boeing’s efforts to improve manufacturing quality and address its safety reputation.

It follows a midair door-panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

Despite Calhoun's defense, Boeing has not yet named his successor after his predecessor was ousted due to the mishandling of two fatal crashes. 

Calhoun told the subcommittee: "We’ve heard the concerns about Boeing’s culture and are taking action to improve."

The panel released whistleblower claims from Sam Mohawk, a quality-assurance investigator at Boeing. 

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Mohawk alleges the company lost track of damaged or substandard parts that were possibly installed on airplanes. 

Mohawk worked at Boeing’s Renton, Washington plant where the 737 Max is made.

He claimed retaliation from supervisors who allegedly instructed him to hide evidence from the FAA. 

Mohawk’s complaints, which included reports of dozens of parts stored outside during an FAA inspection, were shared with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Boeing responded to Mohawk with a written warning for “unacceptable/disruptive behavior."

Boeing is accused of mishandling two crashes where hundreds of people died

The company is reviewing the claims. 

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

The FAA reported increased whistleblower reports from Boeing staff following the door-panel incident and assured thorough investigations of all allegations.

The hearing added to Boeing’s challenges.

The company faces potential US prosecution for violating a 2021 settlement related to the 737 Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, which killed 346 people. 

The Department of Justice has until July 7 to decide on prosecution.

Several family members of Max crash victims attended the hearing, pushing for prosecution. 

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Calhoun apologized to the victims’ families, emphasizing Boeing’s commitment to safety and quality. 

However, Sen. Richard Blumenthal criticized Boeing’s responses to the subcommittee’s requests for information. 

Sen. Josh Hawley condemned Calhoun’s leadership and compensation, calling it a travesty that he remains in his position.

The FAA has restricted Boeing from increasing Max production until safety improvements are met.

This will impact the company's output and cash flow. 

The company’s shares have fallen nearly 33 percent this year. 

Additionally, Boeing faces supply chain issues, including falsified documents for titanium parts from Spirit AeroSystems, a key supplier.

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