Society for Case Research MBAA 2023

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Barkha Rani (undergraduate student), Prescott C. Ensign (professor)

Boeing vs. Pilots – Dollars and Sense

A study by NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) in 2018, when more than 3.5 billion passenger boardings and more than 37.5 million commercial flights were recorded, the odds of dying on a commercial flight due to a crash was calculated to be one in 29.4 million. This stat made flying much safer than being in a car. Ironically, months later, two Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes crashed killing 346 passengers and crew. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 had only recently gone into service in mid-2017 after a new Airbus model was released. Both crashes happened in developing (or emerging) countries, where pilot training and licensing was arguably not as sophisticated as the Western world. Were the crashes most likely due to pilot incompetence or a possible intentional negligence by one of the largest airplane makers, many regarded as the greatest innovator in the aerospace industry.