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Boeing must show more responsibility

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An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The temporary ban on Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft is spreading across the globe. According to US media, roughly two-thirds of these jets in the world have been pulled from use by airlines, although the US and a few allies have not yet made any official move. Some countries have already banned all Boeing 737 Max planes from their airspace and so their normal operations inevitably face a potential paralysis.

China was the first country to ground the plane. European countries firmly followed the move. Some suspect that the competition between Airbus and Boeing is to some extent behind Europe’s fierce reaction. But the root cause of this crisis is people’s loss of confidence in the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8. In the US, many people are refusing to fly on such planes. Panic is spreading fast.

Boeing should focus on eliminating risks, rather than trying to wipe out public concern through releasing statements over its own confidence in its product safety. That is useless.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has not restricted Boeing 737 Max 8 flights despite rising anxiety. Obviously the US government has the intention to protect the company at this special moment. Boeing’s interests undoubtedly weigh in the US political arena.

Such protection of a company seems incredible to Chinese, yet in US society it seems to make sense thanks to the US political system. Some US lawmakers called for hearings on the reliability of the Boeing 737 Max 8. But if Boeing is not prepared to stop flying these jets, the possibility of the US government going against Boeing’s will is quite low.

Boeing is a great company in operation for over a century. It is a giant in the aerospace industry, but it also has moments when its strength does not match people’s demands for absolute safety in civil aviation. By going global to expand its markets, Boeing has to shoulder the full responsibility for the safety of its aircrafts. The latest event showed people’s expectations of the company: With great power comes great responsibility. The more planes Boeing sells, the more risks it faces.

If Boeing cannot control the increasing risks associated with its market expansion, the aerospace giant could soon become fragile and may even take a nasty tumble in the 21st century.

It is hard to expect a new star in the aerospace industry any time soon. Boeing’s irreplaceable status will hardly be changed in the foreseeable future. However, Boeing, which is now grasping such an advantage, should never cold-shoulder the growing demand from its markets. Given all the ups and downs of the business world, nobody and no product is absolutely safe. Boeing needs to be as modest and cautious as any startup company.

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