Boeing is creating a new, internal safety division and altering engineers’ reporting lines as part of a broad overhaul announced 30 September in the name of company-wide safety.
The changes mirror safety-related recommendations approved by Boeing’s board of directors and released by the company last week. Those recommendations stemmed from a safety-review committee commissioned by the board following two deadly 737 Max crashes.
“My team and I embrace our board’s recommendations and are taking immediate steps to implement them across the company in partnership with our people, while continuing and expanding our ongoing efforts to strengthen safety across Boeing and the broader aerospace industry,” Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg says in a media release.
As for timing, Boeing tells FlightGlobal it is “taking immediate steps to implement the recommendations”.
The changes include the creation by Boeing of a new “Product and Services Safety” unit. That division will “strengthen the company’s safety-first focus” by overseeing “safety-related responsibilities currently managed by teams across several Boeing business and operating units,” it says.
“The organisation will bring together teams across Boeing — and external talent where needed — to elevate awareness and reporting of, and accountability for, safety issues within the company, further improving enterprise-wide product and services safety,” Boeing says.
Boeing 34-year veteran Beth Pasztor, who previously worked as vice-president of safety, security and compliance in the company’s commercial aircraft division, will head the Product and Services Safety division.
Her team will review “all aspects of product safety, including investigating cases of undue pressure and anonymous product and service safety concerns raise by employees”, Boeing says.
Pasztor will also oversee Boeing’s accident investigation team, safety review boards and its “Organization Delegation Authorization” (ODA).
The Federal Aviation Administration grants ODAs to aircraft makers. The designations give companies authority to assume some aircraft certification-related work.
Pasztor will report to Boeing chief engineer Greg Hyslop and a newly formed board of directors’ panel called the Aerospace Safety Committee. Boeing announced the formation of that committee last week.
Boeing is also shifting how its engineers report within the company, announcing they will now report to chief engineer Hyslop. The previous structure has Boeing engineers in different business units reported up the chain of command within those units.
“This realignment will help strengthen engineering expertise, encourage a companywide approach to meeting customer, business unit and operational priorities, and further emphasise the importance of safety. It also places an even-greater emphasis on creating professional growth opportunities for engineers,” Boeing says.
The company also intends to work with customers to “ensure flight deck designs continue to anticipate the needs of future pilot populations,” it says. “Advanced R&D efforts in future flight decks also are underway, leveraging leading-edge work in human factors science and design.”
The internal changes come as Boeing continues working toward achieving certification of its 737 Max.
Boeing hopes to reach that milestone in the fourth quarter, though Muilenburg has conceded regulatory bodies in different countries may approve the jet on different schedules.
The company’s 737 Max certification work, and that of the FAA, also remains under investigation by the US Department of Justice and the US Congress.