In response to a prolonged decline in Boeing’s manufacturing performance, Clark is set to dispatch his own engineers to oversee the plane maker’s production lines.
Emirates to Inspect Boeing 777 Production
In an interview with the Financial Times, Clark highlighted a noticeable and ongoing deterioration in Boeing’s standards, attributing it to persistent management and governance missteps. He pointed out a shift towards prioritizing financial performance over-engineering excellence as a contributing factor.
Sir Tim Clark, a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has been associated with Emirates since the 1980s and has held the position of president since 2003. His remarks come at a challenging time for Boeing, marked by the recent mid-flight blowout of a fuselage section on a Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft.
As one of Boeing’s major customers, Emirates placed a substantial order for 95 wide-body Boeing 777 and 787 jets in November, valued at $52 billion at list prices, further emphasizing the significance of Clark’s concerns.
“They need to establish an unparalleled safety culture and conduct a thorough review of their manufacturing processes to ensure no corners are cut, among other measures. I am confident that Chief Executive Dave Calhoun and Commercial Head Stan Deal are addressing these crucial aspects, recognizing that this is their final opportunity,” remarked Clark.
He also disclosed that, for the first time, the airline plans to deploy its own engineers to oversee the production process of the 777 at both Boeing and its supplier, Spirit AeroSystems.
“The necessity for us to take such measures is a testament to the events that have transpired. In the past, this would not have been deemed necessary. We used to have implicit trust in these individuals to accomplish the task,” he commented.
Continuous Criticism by Clark
While Tim Clark has consistently voiced criticism regarding manufacturers for delivery delays and reliability issues, his recent remarks constitute his most direct critique of Boeing to date.
The ongoing investigation by federal regulators into the 737 MAX 9 incident has significantly impacted Boeing’s reputation, intensifying scrutiny of its manufacturing and quality assurance procedures.
Clark pointed out that Boeing’s previous management committed repeated missteps, such as outsourcing portions of its manufacturing and relocating parts of its 787 production to South Carolina in a cost-cutting move after facing union conflicts at its primary base in Seattle, Washington.
Although Boeing eventually shifted all 787 production to South Carolina in 2021, the site has encountered challenges in manufacturing. Clark asserted that Boeing suffered a loss of “skills and competencies” due to this relocation.
Focus on Production, not on Finance
According to Clark, there is a crucial need for a comprehensive evaluation of the company’s manufacturing processes. He emphasized that the management should prioritize this review over concerns related to financial performance.
“There should be a thorough examination of how the company approaches the production of airplanes and the selection of manufacturing locations. This entails adopting principles of good management and governance, and it should be the primary focus for everyone on the board,” he stated.
Clark emphasized that the focus should not solely revolve around financial metrics like return on investment, bottom line figures, free cash flow, shareholder value, share value, or bonuses.
Instead, the priority should be on executing the manufacturing process correctly from the start, as the financial rewards will naturally follow if the procedures are carried out appropriately.
Clark mentioned that Calhoun and Deal have the opportunity to rectify Boeing’s internal issues, but he added that only time will reveal if they are suitable for the task.
“Boeing will undoubtedly regain its previous standing. It will persist in creating and designing exceptional airplanes, well-constructed and reliable for its customer base. I am confident in that. However, the current imperative is to address internal matters and realign priorities significantly,” he remarked.
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.