Boeing’s brain drain worries aviation industry & analysts

Aerospace and aviation analysts have said they are deeply concerned about the alarming number of middle and senior staff who are leaving Boeing in droves, either voluntarily or because of overall job losses.

The number of key managers, planners, project leaders and design engineers and conceptualists who have left is so severe, they’re warning investors that Boeing is essentially destroying the expertise it will need for crucial future commercial aircraft programmes.

This is by no means the first time these accusations have been levelled at the company. Since the take over of McDonnell-Douglas twenty odd years ago and the emergence of the “profit above all else” culture at the company, this has been a constant theme.

Arguably earlier losses around key people showed up in the endless delays around the 787, the short sighted choice to go down the path to the 737MAX (rather than a new design) and the disastrous consequences that resulted in, have left the company exposed to all sorts of problems.

Boeing’s unimaginative and blunt response just a week ago, saying that hydrogen powered aircraft isn’t even on their agenda, leaves it wide open to having Airbus steal the entire global market in 10-15 years time.

Others worry that the 777-9 was also created during this now past stage of Boeing’s profit policy, and that engineering integrity may not be what it should. This has led the FAA and EASA to make it clear to Boeing they will be looking at the 777-9 with intense scrutiny before its certified.

Yet there is already one issue here that Boeing seems nowhere near addressing: what will its next aircraft project be, and when? With concept to launch taking as much as ten years, whatever Boeing plans on doing by 2030-35 already needs a to be in the concept stage if nothing else. There’s no sign that will happen any time soon.