Boeing could face criminal investigation from the Department of Justice

Boeing could face criminal action following the January incident where a door blew off an Alaska Airlines flight while the plane was in midair.

However, this is just one of several bad headlines targeting the company over the last few weeks.

FOX 13 News reported earlier this week, that a former Boeing employee is suing the company for sexual assault.

Now, reports state the Department of Justice is investigating Boeing for possible criminal action.

"I am aware that there is a grand jury investigation going on. So, I can confirm that part of it," said Scott Hamilton, an aviation consultant with the Leeham Company.

In 2021, Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion for employees trying to cover up info following two deadly 737 Max plane crashes.

Hamilton says this news is not even the most troubling issue for Boeing this week.

"Right now, Boeing has so many problems of its own, it's like, how can they accommodate an acquisition? Spirit (AeroSystems) has $4 billion in debt."

Boeing announced plans to try to buy Spirit AeroSystems.

Spirit AeroSystems is the company that installed the door plug that flew off the Alaska Airlines flight. 

Hamilton says Spirit AeroSystems also builds plane parts for Boeing's biggest competitor, Airbus.

Hamilton says in the long-term this is a good move for Boeing, but he questions if now is the right time, when considering all the issues the company faces.

"Boeing's going to have to simply return to their roots, and be the company that always said we are an engineering firm; we do a heck of a job at putting out a wonderfully engineered product and the profits will follow," said John Nance, an aviation consultant.

Nance said Boeing is under extreme scrutiny right now, but he has faith in the local employer.

"The men and women of Boeing are really amazing people, but they need leadership that focuses on not the bottom line but the excellence of their product," he said.

An official with Boeing said they were unavailable for an interview. However, they responded to specific questions FOX 13 News asked about a series of issues the company faced recently. Below is the unedited response from the email:

Thanks for reaching out. Here are our responses to the topics you asked about:

Spirit AeroSystems: 

DOJ investigation: 

  • We don’t have a comment.

Everett employee allegations: 

  • We don’t have a comment.

$51 million settlement: 

  • Boeing statement: "We are committed to our trade controls obligations, and we look forward to working with the State Department under the agreement announced today. As the agreement reflects, Boeing voluntarily and transparently disclosed all of the matters addressed in this resolution, the considerable majority of which predate the significant improvements we have made to our trade controls compliance program since 2020. We are committed to continuous improvement of that program, and the compliance undertakings reflected in this agreement will help us advance that objective."

Change in 737 leadership:

  • Below is an email Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal sent to all BCA employees on Feb. 21.


I am announcing several leadership changes as we continue driving BCA’s enhanced focus on ensuring that every airplane we deliver meets or exceeds all quality and safety requirements. Our customers demand, and deserve, nothing less.

Elizabeth Lund is named to the new position of senior vice president for BCA Quality, where she will lead our quality control and quality assurance efforts, as well as the quality initiatives we recently announced, within BCA and the supply chain. Elizabeth is uniquely qualified for this position given her extensive leadership experience and knowledge of our airplane programs, production system, engineering, and supply chain. Elizabeth will continue reporting to me and serving on the company’s executive council, as chair of the Boeing Quality Operations Council. Carole Murray will now report to Elizabeth, on special assignment, to ensure a smooth transition and focus on accelerating our quality initiatives.

Mike Fleming is succeeding Elizabeth as senior vice president and general manager, Airplane Programs. In addition to overseeing the 737, 767, 777/777X, and 787 production programs, Mike will continue leading our Customer Support team. He will remain focused on listening to our customers and meeting their operational needs as he works closely with Elizabeth and the quality organization to implement our quality initiatives and minimize rework and traveled work in our factories. Mike will report to me and serve on the executive council as chair of the Program Management Operations Council.

Don Ruhmann is succeeding Mike as vice president, Development Programs, and will report to me. Don’s replacement as 787 chief project engineer will be named soon.

Ed Clark is leaving the company. Ed departs with my, and our, deepest gratitude for his many significant contributions over nearly 18 years of dedicated service to Boeing. Katie Ringgold will succeed Ed as vice president and general manager, 737 program and Renton site.  Katie’s replacement as vice president, 737 Delivery Operations, will be named soon.

These leadership changes are effective immediately. Please join me in congratulating our leaders on their new positions, and giving Ed our very best wishes.