After the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, a slow but steady process began as the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was pulled from service all over the world. This was the second crash this type of plane was involved in, after Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea on October 29, 2018.
Obviously, these are both tragic disasters, but did you know something possibly could have prevented these disasters from happening? According to a CNBC article from March 21, both planes that crashed weren’t equipped with an angle of attack indicator or disagree light. Both parts would have helped indicate if the planes were in trouble before they crashed, as the indicator would show how tilted the nose of the plane is while the disagree light would be active if the sensors on the jets are giving contradictory signals.
What I’d like to know is at what point did corporations decide that this was a good business practice in the first place? The same question can apply to car sales, since there are features that are sold for more money on new cars, but this is much more serious!
The exact cause of the Ethiopian Airline crash has yet to be determined as investigators are looking over everything from faulty software to erratic data.
Regardless of the cause itself, it’s terrifying to picture a plane in the air that’s missing vital safety parts. I admit, I don’t fly around the world as much as other people, but I’d like to know that I can fly with the smallest risk possible.
The worst part about this, though, is that the parts don’t even need to be sold in the first place. As Bjorn Fehrm, an aviation analyst with the company Leeham, told the New York Times, “Boeing charges for [the parts] because it can, but they’re vital for safety.”
They don’t charge money for the safety parts because they need to make a profit, they charge prices for the safety parts because Boeing knows they can make a few extra bucks from doing so. It’s practices like these that are absolutely horrible for any company to put into effect, especially one of the top airlines in the world.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if anything will change as a result. While the investigation continues, Boeing at the very least will offer the disagree light for free. It would be better if they could offer both parts for free, but that would mean they’d lose more money.
This isn’t even the first time Boeing’s practices have been called into question. A lawsuit involving Brazil’s Gol Airlines and a previous version of the 737 revealed that the airline had to pay for simple things like oxygen masks for the crew as well as proper weather radar technology.
How long will this practice continue? Do other airline manufacturers do anything like this?
The fact that companies must pay extra for things like oxygen, safety tech or even simple things like fire extinguishers is terrifying. It’s one thing for a car to lack a better radio or improved seating due to budget costs, but to lack vital safety equipment on a plane? Airplanes are machines that work best when every tiny piece of tech is attached, for better or worse. So I can only hope that everyone puts away the greedy cravings of selling as much as possible and puts human safety above everything else.