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Boeing Goes On the Offensive to Keep Nervous Customers

Boeing is kicking off an image rehabilitation tour after becoming known as the plane-maker whose planes may fall apart mid-air.

Photo of a Boeing plane interior
Photo by Mohammad Arrahmanur via Unsplash

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They say when one door closes, another opens. But for Boeing, when one door blows open, others start closing.

It’s tough being known as a plane-maker whose planes may fall apart while several thousand feet in the air. But such is life suddenly for Boeing, and righting the airship may now be a yearslong process. As a crucial client in China grows increasingly skeptical, according to a Wall Street Journal report this weekend, the aerospace giant is kicking off a rehabilitation tour.

Turbulent Skies

Boeing may have to traverse a long runway before gaining back the faith of the general flying public. The company has started that process by amping up its inspection processes and sending a team to Spirit AeroSystems, the third-party supplier and contractor responsible for installing the optional mid-fuselage exit door on the 737 Max  9 aircraft models that terrifyingly blew off the Alaska Airlines flight two weeks ago. In a bid for transparency, the manufacturer is also inviting airline clients into its factories, as well as outside experts who may suggest tips and improvements, according to a letter sent to employees on Monday by commercial aircraft chief Stan Deal.

The safety checks may have to be impressive to win back the trust of Chinese clients, who represent an increasingly all-important aviation market:

Made in America: It’s tough news for Boeing, which hasn’t completed a direct 737 Max delivery into China since 2019, back when the nation was the first in the world to ground all 737 Max flights following a pair of fatal crashes. But China’s commercial aviation industry is booming, and, according to Boeing’s own forecasts, the market will represent about 20% of all global aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years. If Boeing wants in, they may have to start offering — excuse the pun — some doorbuster sales.