A senior engineer at Boeing reportedly filed an internal ethics complaint this year arguing that his superiors at the company decided against implementing a system that he felt could have prevented deadly crashes like two that involved the company's 737 Max line of aircraft.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that Curtis Ewbank, a systems engineer with Boeing, warned in his complaint that the company's CEO had misrepresented the overall safety of Boeing's 737 Max line.
Officials at Boeing, he went on, had declined to implement technology in the now-grounded 737 Max line to calculate whether the aircraft's so-called angle of attack sensors were malfunctioning, due to concerns about the system's cost.
That system, he argued, would have assisted pilots in two deadly crashes involving 737 Max planes that led to a grounding of the fleet worldwide earlier this year. Boeing executives have engaged with the Trump administration for months, seeking reapproval to fly the aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“I was willing to stand up for safety and quality, but was unable to actually have an effect in those areas,” Ewbank's report read, according to the Times. “Boeing management was more concerned with cost and schedule than safety or quality.”
“Boeing is not in a business where safety can be treated as a secondary concern,” he reportedly added. “But the current culture of expediency of design-to-market and cost cutting does not permit any other treatment by the work force tasked with making executive managements’ fever dreams a reality.”
The complaint was reportedly forwarded to the Justice Department as part of the agency's criminal probe into the 737 Max's certification process. A spokesperson for Boeing insisted to the Times that "safety, quality and integrity are at the core of Boeing’s values.”
“Boeing offers its employees a number of channels for raising concerns and complaints and has rigorous processes in place, both to ensure that such complaints receive thorough consideration and to protect the confidentiality of employees who make them,” Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe told the newspaper.