Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Safety Second

I flew across country yesterday on a 737-800 jet plane. Fortunately it wasn't one of the infamous new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that has fallen out of the sky twice in the past five months, killing a total of 346 people. Nobody seems to know why just yet, and dozens of countries worldwide have banned the questionable aircraft from flying in their airspace during the post-crash investigation.

But in the United States, the 737 Max 8 is still airborne. The FAA has called for software updates, so no need to be hasty, right? Despite the lip service US airlines pay to the "your safety is our first priority" trope, actions speak louder than slogans. The real motto appears to be "profits first, safety second."

I'm wondering how the airline staff assigned to these flying question marks will feel about going to work until there is an answer to the problem(s) that caused the two crashes. Passengers can change their flights; they can even change which airline they choose to fly. It's not so easy for employees to make the switch.

Aviation experts are working hard to identify what might be the issue with the 737 Max 8, and I don't doubt they'll find it. Meanwhile, I wish all passengers and crew safe travels--and soft landings.