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Boeing to tie more worker bonuses to safety after series of lapses

Boeing to tie more worker bonuses to safety after series of lapses
A Boeing Co. building near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, US, on Monday, 8 January 2024. (Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Boeing Co. will make safety and quality a bigger metric for employee bonuses after a series of safety lapses tarnished the planemaker’s reputation.  

In the biggest change, workers at the Boeing Commercial Airplane division will see 60% of their annual incentive score based on safety and quality metrics. Previously, 75% of the score was based on financial metrics, whereas operational metrics accounted for just 25%, and included targets beyond safety and quality, Boeing said in an emailed statement. 

The changes, which were communicated at an all-employee meeting on Wednesday, come two months after a near-disaster on a new Boeing 737 Max operated by Alaska Airlines, when a door plug blew off shortly after takeoff. No one was injured and the plane landed safely. 

“It’s very, very important to drive the outcomes that we’re all committed to, and that’s to deliver a safe and quality product to our customer,” Boeing’s chief operating officer Stephanie Pope told the employee meeting. 

Earlier this week, US crash investigators, in a highly unusual rebuke, accused Boeing officials of failing to cooperate in a probe of how the panel flew off. Investigators are also looking into another incident involving the 737 Max, in which the plane’s rudder system malfunctioned as pilots were landing.

Other Boeing business units will see minor changes to the bonus structure. At the Defense, Space and Security division and Boeing Global Services, operational metrics will continue to be 25% of the business unit scores, though will focus solely on safety and quality. The Enterprise, or corporate, plan will be an average of the three business units’ scores.  

Details of the bonus metrics changes were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

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