Issues With Boeing Aircraft Have Made Americans More Worried About Flying

April 16, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Consumer Behaviour | Lifestyle and Society | Transport | Travel/Tourism

Share this research:

Our Most Recent Research

For Boeing, once one of America’s most prestigious companies, these are difficult times.

The company’s reputation has taken a succession of blows in recent years. In 2019, more than 300 people were killed in two separate crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia involving Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Then, in early January this year, the door plug on a 737 Max 9 operated by Alaska Airlines fell off the plane at a height of 16,000 feet, forcing the temporary grounding of that model of aircraft while investigators determined the cause of the incident. 

Just last week, an engine cowling on a Boeing 737-800 fell off during take-off from Denver and struck a wing flap, forcing the plane to return to the ground.

And this week, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has confirmed it is investigating the claims of a whistleblower at the company, who has alleged that there are potentially dangerous flaws in the assembly process of the 787 Dreamliner.

The cumulative effect of these incidents has been a sharp drop in Boeing’s share price, increased tension between Boeing and its commercial aviation partners, and an accelerating loss of market share to Airbus, its European rival.

Recent polling by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek suggests that these incidents at Boeing have had another consequence: Americans are now more worried about flying.

The recent mechanical issues at Boeing have been widely publicized. 51% of Americans say they are ‘very’ (25%) or ‘fairly’ (26%) familiar with the mechanical issues involving Boeing aircraft, while a further 23% are at least ‘somewhat’ familiar with them. 

Among those respondents who are at least ‘somewhat’ familiar with those recent issues, 68% say they are now either ‘a bit’ (43%) or ‘a lot’ (25%) more worried about flying as a result of them.

And while 49% of those voters say the incidents have made them neither more nor less likely to book a flight, more than a quarter (29%) say they are now less likely to book a flight as a result of the recent issues with Boeing aircraft.

Boeing is now taking steps to restore its bruised reputation, including exercising greater oversight of its manufacturing partners and announcing the resignation of its embattled CEO, Dave Calhoun, who will leave his job at the end of this year.

On that measure, there is broad support. A plurality of 42% of Americans support Calhoun’s decision to resign, while just 4% oppose it.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

Share this research:

Our Most Recent Research