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Boeing: How much trouble is the company in?

“It’s as if I’m watching a troubled child” is how Captain Dennis Tajer describes flying a Boeing 737 Max.

The head of the Allied Pilots Association, the pilots union for American Airlines, insists he would never board an aircraft if it were not safe.

But he says he can no longer take the quality of the plane he’s flying for granted.

“I’m at an alert status that I’ve never had to be in on a Boeing airplane,” he says.

“Because I don’t trust that they’ve followed the processes that have previously kept me safe on Boeing airplanes for over three decades.”

Executives at the aerospace giant’s shiny new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia could be forgiven for feeling like they are under siege.

Every day seems to bring more bad headlines for the company, which is coming under pressure from regulators and airlines, and has seen its reputation badly damaged.

The trouble began in January, when a disused emergency exit door blew off a brand new Boeing 737 Max shortly after take-off from Portland International Airport.

An initial report from the US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that four bolts meant to attach the door securely to the aircraft had not been fitted.

Boeing is reportedly facing a criminal investigation into the incident itself, as well as legal action from passengers aboard the plane.

But although no-one was seriously hurt, the affair had much wider repercussions. It cast a harsh spotlight on the aerospace giant’s corporate culture and attitude to safety.