Another Boeing whistleblower comes forward – with receipts

What's that? Q1 was better than expected? Pump those shares

Another Boeing whistleblower has come forward to report problems at his former employer, but that doesn't seem to have upset shareholders, who sent shares skyward on news of a quarter bearing fewer losses than expected.

Boeing released calendar Q1 numbers ahead of its earnings call today, just as the New York Times published an interview with 30-year Boeing veteran Merle Meyers. The retired manager came to the Times with a bundle of documents he alleges support his claims that Boeing leadership has become obsessed with speed over quality to the detriment of passengers, airlines, and the company's reputation.

Meyers told the NYT that Boeing has been experiencing a quality decline for decades, which isn't a new allegation. Meyers said that since its merger with McDonnell Douglas in 1997, he had seen workers under such pressure to keep production lines moving that they took parts assigned to other planes, grabbed newly arrived parts that hadn't been inspected, and tried to salvage parts that were scrapped.

Managers did little to dissuade such bad behavior, Meyers said. Emails shown to the Times reportedly reveal repeated efforts from Meyers to bring the issues to the attention of higher ups to little avail.

Meyers' claims are just the latest in a spate of public whistleblowing Boeing has faced. Long-time whistleblower John Barnett was found dead last month in what appears to have been a suicide, but another employee has been sounding the alarm too – a former engineer who recently testified before Congress.

Sam Salehpour warned that the Boeing 787 is at risk of falling "apart at the joints" due to multiple issues including alleged fuselage gaps that could cause structural failures. Boeing has denied Salehpour's claims, but the engineer said the company's reassurances were for naught. 

"When operating at 35,000 feet, the size of a human hair can be a matter of life and death," Salehpour told US lawmakers last week. 

But the shareholders are still happy

If you examine Boeing's earnings, you'll still see a company in the red, with losses across the board, a decrease in revenue, and a 36 percent drop in deliveries.

Nonetheless, it's better than expected. 

The aviation giant lost – but less than the first quarter of 2023. It still burned through billions of dollars, but not as much as analysts expected.

Net loss for the three months was confirmed as $355 million on revenue of $16.569 billion. The net loss a year ago was $425 million on revenue of $17.921 billion.

In short, problems aside, it could have been worse for Boeing, and that fact sent shares up more than 4 percent in pre-market trading since the company shared its earnings data this morning.

"Our first quarter results reflect the immediate actions we've taken to slow down 737 production to drive improvements in quality," Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun said. "We will take the time necessary to strengthen our quality and safety management systems and this work will position us for a stronger and more stable future." ®

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