In late April, on Boeing’s first quarterly earnings call after the worldwide 737 Max groundings, an analyst asked an uncharacteristically direct question: “How did this happen?”
It’s a question that many have tried to answer since Ethiopian Air flight 302 crashed in March, just five months after Lion Air flight 610 went down. The crashes killed 346 people, stunned the world, and precipitated a full-blown crisis for one of the US’s most successful companies.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg responded to the question by invoking a common explanation for aviation disasters. That it was not the result of a single “technical slip or gap,” but rather “a series of events.”