Press Release

Welch Questions Experts About Boeing’s Safety Lapses During Senate Commerce Hearing 

Apr 18, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) highlighted how Boeing’s recent safety lapses have impacted public confidence in the company and their aircraft, and emphasized the importance of holding Boeing to the highest standard of safety. 

“People are pretty terrified—it’s unreal when you think about it…I mean bottom line, people are wondering all the time if they should fly on a Boeing plane. Is the public safe right now?” asked Senator Welch

In response to Senator Welch’s questioning, Dr. Javier De Luis, Lecturer at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics stated, “I keep track of what’s happening on the MAX, for obvious reasons, and I’m worried about what’s happening on the MAX.” Dr. Tracy Dillinger, Manager for Safety Culture and Human Factors at NASA, stated, “I hope [Boeing] has taken our recommendations to heart and implement[ed] them.” 

Senator Welch concluded: “I think the public’s entitled to more confidence in the security and safety of flying.” “There seems to be two issues about safety: one, are the practices and the culture of the manufacturer, and the other is how much they put profit ahead of safety— because it is a trade-off. The more they’re going to focus on safety, that’s going to come at some expense. And I understand there are problems in both of those elements for Boeing.” 

Watch the Senator’s full remarks here: 

Senator Welch has worked to support Vermont’s rural airports, strengthen protections for travelers, and create jobs in the aviation and aircraft tech industry in the Senate. In February, Welch helped advance the bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act out of the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill includes several key priorities for the state, including a measure to protect funding for rural airports and for an FAA study to better understand power demands for the growing number of electric aircrafts. 

Earlier this year, Senator Welch joined Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass) and JD Vance (R-Ohio) in sending a letter to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun demanding answers about the company’s manufacturing quality control, oversight of contractors, and communications after an Alaska Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 9 door plug blew off the side of an airplane while inflight. The Senators urged Boeing to cooperate fully with the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) ongoing investigation into the incident and requested answers regarding Boeing’s quality control procedures.