Wednesday 29 January 2020 12:01 am

Another 'disastrous month' for Boeing as reputation hits rock bottom

Boeing’s reputation has hit a record low this month, as the troubled plane maker gears up to announce its annual results this afternoon.

The manufacturer is still reeling from two crashes involving its 737 Max jet in 2018 and 2019. 

They killed a combined 346 people, and led to the best-selling jet being grounded worldwide.

The incidents have since been blamed on faulty software installed by Boeing, sparking the worst crisis in its 103-year history.

Media intelligence firm Alva said the crisis hit a new low this month, as the manufacturer’s reputation score for January fell to minus 71. 

That is even lower than after the second crash in March last year, when it was measured to have a monthly score of minus 56.

Alva worked out the score on a sliding scale of plus 100 to minus 100, based on analysis of sentiment in global media coverage, blogs, forums, and social media.

It comes after shocking emails were passed on to US investigators this month, in which Boeing executives mocked their safety regulator and said the 737 Max had been “designed by clowns”.

Boeing’s fired former chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, was also ousted in December with a payout work £48m, it emerged this month.

Those factors, combined with the ongoing failure to get the 737 Max certified as safe to fly, had contributed to Boeing’s reputation hitting rock bottom, said Alva.

The Boeing jet destroyed by Iranian soldiers this month, killing all 176 people on board, also contributed.

Alastair Pickering, Alva’s chief strategy officer, said: “This has without a doubt been a disastrous month for Boeing, even in comparison to the previous ten months. 

“But it also illustrates an important point about how companies in crisis experience continuous reputational damage. 

“Because the weight of public opinion is already against Boeing and there is a pre-existing media narrative of the firm being in crisis, any subsequent reputational hit damages the firm much more heavily than one without that background of negativity.”