Emirates CEO Tells Boeing To 'Get Your Act Together' As David Calhoun Set To Step Down Amid Safety Crisis And Delivery Delays

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Chairman and CEO of Emirates, has publicly voiced his discontent with Boeing Co BA over its ongoing safety crisis and subsequent delivery delays. This comes as CEO David Calhoun announced his retirement by the end of the year.

What Happened: Al Maktoum expressed his frustration during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

He said, “We’re not happy really with what’s going on, we always really wanted to see this aircraft entering the fleet when it had been promised — and there is a delay, it’s not only to us.”

Advising Boeing, Maktoum added, "I always say, you know, get your act together and just do it. And I think they can do it.”

Emirates, which has 245 passenger planes and five 778 freighters on order, is Boeing’s largest customer for widebody jets. However, Boeing’s aircraft deliveries have plummeted to the lowest since mid-2021 in Q1 2024, following increased scrutiny after a safety incident involving one of its 737 Max 9 planes.

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Al Maktoum, who helms the world’s largest long-haul airline, echoed the sentiments of many other airline CEOs regarding Boeing’s performance. He urged the company to deliver on its promises to customers.

Despite the issues, Al Maktoum did not indicate that Emirates would cancel its Boeing orders or switch them to Airbus, Boeing’s French rival. He mentioned that Emirates is refurbishing a large number of aircraft within its existing fleet to ensure sufficient passenger capacity.

Why It Matters: Boeing’s new management team is tasked with navigating the company’s worst crisis since the 737 Max jet crashes in 2018-2019, which resulted in 346 fatalities. The Federal Aviation Administration’s recent audit of Boeing found multiple instances of non-compliance with manufacturing quality control requirements.

Amid these crises, Calhoun announced his retirement by the end of 2024. His tenure, which began in 2020, was marked by persistent safety and quality control issues that significantly impacted Boeing’s reputation and performance. Despite the company’s struggles, Calhoun is expected to leave with a substantial financial package of $32.8 million. This was the total compensation in 2023 despite the company’s security woes.

The news sparked reactions from many, including Elon Musk. The compensation, coupled with the ongoing safety issues and delivery delays, has put Boeing under intense scrutiny.

Boeing has stated that it is implementing changes and developing a comprehensive action plan to strengthen safety and quality in response to the FAA findings. Recently, Boeing experienced another setback as its first crewed test flight was postponed due to a technical issue, drawing criticism from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk who attributed the delay to “too many non-technical managers” at Boeing.

Price Action: Boeing was trading 0.62% lower at $177.26 on Tuesday at the time of writing, according to Benzinga Pro.

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Photo via Shutterstock

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