Speaking in an exclusive interview with NBC News, a former Boeing manager has said he warned the company over problems at its main factory in Washington State before two 737 Max airplanes suffered fatal crashes.
Ed Pierson, the former manager, said that he warned just two months before the crashes about the conditions at the Renton Boeing plant.
According to Pierson there was a push to increase production of the 737 Max planes and it created a “factory in chaos.”
NBC News obtained emails that confirm Pierson said that from the summer of 2018 until the spring of 2019, he had asked Boeing executives and then the FAA adn NTSB to look into the conditions at the Washington plant.
“Frankly right now all my internal warning bells are going off,” Pierson wrote in an email to Scott Campbell, the general manager of the 737 Max program, on June 9th, 2018. “And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane.”
It was only four months later that a 737 Max airplane built at the Renton plant had crashed into the sea near Indonexia, killing 189 people aboard.
“I cried a lot,” Pierson told NBC News. “I’m mad at myself because I felt like I could have done more.”
Pierson then wrote to the Boeing board of directors on February 19th, 2019. “I have no interest in scaring the public of wasting anyone’s time,” Pierson wrote again in another email. “I also don’t want to wake up one morning and hear about another tragedy and have personal regrets.”
It was not even a month later that a 737 Max airplane then crashed in Ethiopia, killing 157 people.
“This was a last resort,” Pierson told NBC News. “I really had hoped that by providing information to the right people, and following the protocols and the chain of command every step of the way, I thought people would do their job.”
“I didn’t expect to get this far. But I don’t think I have any choice.”
“Although Mr. Pierson did not provide specific information or detail about any particular defect or quality issue, Boeing took his concerns about 737 production disruption seriously,” Boeing defended.
“Importantly, the suggestion by Mr. Pierson of a link between his concerns and the recent MAX accidents is completely unfounded,” said the company. “Mr. Pierson raises issues about the production of the 737 MAX, yet none of the authorities investigating these accidents have found that production conditions in the 737 factory contributed in any way to these accidents.”
Disclaimer: We have no position in Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and have not been compensated for this article.