Boeing axes supervisor amid fallout over embarrassing 737 Max messages

Single-aisle jetliner was grounded in March 2019 after two deadly crashes

Embattled aerospace giant Boeing has fired the employee who supervised pilots behind internal messages skewering the Boeing 737 Max, the airliner grounded after two crashes that killed hundreds.

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Keith Cooper, a former vice president of training and professional services at Boeing, supervised two pilots who complained about the beleaguered aircraft in internal messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The dismissal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Boeing declined to comment to FOX Business. The Max has been grounded since March 2019 after investigators linked the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia to new anti-stall software that appeared to hamper pilot control during takeoff.

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Chicago-based Boeing disclosed the messages, in which one employee wrote, “This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys,” in early January, following the abrupt departure of former CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

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Muilenburg's successor, David Calhoun, called the messages “totally appalling” during a conference call with reporters. The planemaker halted production of the Max the same month; it had been unable to deliver the aircraft to customers since its grounding.

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Once manufacturing of the jet resumes, it will take at least two years before the production rate reaches the target the company had set before the grounding, Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said at an investor conference on Wednesday. The company was targeting 57 aircraft per month, which was reduced to 40 once the grounding took effect.

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Meanwhile, Boeing said Tuesday it received no commercial airplane orders during the month of January, ceding ground to rival Airbus. The Max had been the best-selling model in the planemaker's history.