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18 Mar, 2024 18:31

Musk mocks Boeing

The billionaire shared a screenshot of a satirical story highlighting the mechanical troubles with the US aerospace giant’s aircraft
Musk mocks Boeing

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has ribbed US aerospace giant Boeing by sharing a story which jokes that passengers could bring sharp hand tools like screwdrivers aboard their flights to assist with maintenance.

The billionaire posted a screenshot from The Shovel, an Australian news satire site similar to The Onion, which declared that “Screwdrivers, drills now permitted on Boeing flights to allow passengers to help with maintenance.” The tongue-in-cheek story follows recent reports of mid-air malfunctions on Boeing airplanes. 

Musk did not provide any description of the screenshot, which went viral after he posted it on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on March 17, receiving over 40 million views and 37,000 reposts. Internet users responded by posting their own memes exposing Boeing troubles.

The US plane maker’s production standards have come under increased scrutiny worldwide following a mid-air blowout on one of its 737 MAX 9 planes in January.

A US safety audit of Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 manufacturing process has reportedly found dozens of quality-control shortcomings, including the use of dish soap and a hotel key card as makeshift tools. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified 97 “non-compliance” issues at Boeing and failed the aircraft maker on 33 out of 89 product audits, according to a recent New York Times report, citing relevant documents.

The safety review was ordered after a January 5 Alaska Airlines flight bound for California from Portland, Oregon, had to turn back after a door panel blew off at 16,000 feet, injuring several of the 171 passengers aboard. The FAA temporarily grounded all 737 MAX 9 jets in the US for safety inspections. Alaska Airlines said it has found loose bolts on many of the Boeing planes in its fleet.

Boeing passenger jets have been involved in several safety incidents this month. A 737 MAX 8 operated by United Airlines rolled off a runway and tilted onto its side after landing in Houston on March 8. A day earlier, an Osaka-bound Boeing 777 operated by United was diverted after a tire fell off its landing gear upon takeoff in San Francisco. At least 50 people on a Boeing 787 operated by Latam Airlines were injured on March 11 when the jet – heading to New Zealand from Australia – went into a sudden nosedive, slamming passengers into the ceiling, because of what the air carrier described as a “technical event.”

The 737 MAX, Boeing’s top-selling airliner, was grounded by aviation regulators around the world in March 2019, after crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed a combined 346 people. The planes were cleared to go back into service around two years later, following repairs to their flight control systems.