Planes make many of us nervous, even though commercial air travel is the safest form of mass transportation, but accidents do happen.

When we talk about planes, there are two major manufacturers of commercial airlines in the world: the first is the American company Boeing, and the second is Airbus, which is European-owned.

Let’s talk about Boeing.


Dear Nigerian air users, when you book flights or board planes from one Nigerian city to another, or for our esteemed Japa colleagues, when you book your Airline tickets to leave Nigeria, do you check what plane manufacturer your favourite airline patronises?

Well, I know that might seem like too much to ask for because, who cares, right? Well, I think it’s time to start caring because Boeing, the world’s largest manufacturer of planes, has been going through turbulent times.

This is even more important for Nigerians because most Nigerian airlines buy used planes that are not brand new like their foreign counterparts.


Boeing CEO Dave Calhon when he was asked why a plane the company delivered to Alaska airlines just two months earlier experienced severe turbulence in California.

He said it was because “a quality escape happened”.

Can you believe that? A quality escape? How does it even make sense that a brand new plane would fall apart in just two months after manufacturing? I mean, it takes a Snickers even more time to fall apart.


Boeing has had a number of crashes that were blamed on flawed Boeing planes, from the one in Indonesia to the one in Ethiopia. Boeing is one of America’s largest exporters, but earlier this year, the FAA, the American federal aviation authority, grounded all Boeing planes and gave the company 90 days to produce an explanation as to why their planes were having so many issues.


Boeign used to be synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. It was founded by William Boeign in 1916, and over the years it has built nearly 100 000 planes for the Allied Forces and even jets for the Air Force 1, but they are best known for revolutionising commercial aeroplane manufacturing.


In 1937 the company introduced the 737 and has made over ten thousand of them since then, Boeign early years was remarkable for quality and they were such a reliable brand till they announced a merger with McDonnell douglas in 1996, Mcdonnel Douglas were primarily known for making military planes and had a very bad reputation for commercial plane manufacturing, their most notorious product was the DC10 which had multiple accidents and claimed over a thousand casualties.


From that point on the company’s reputation started to go downhill, because while Boeing was the acquirer in that partnership the McDonnell Douglas culture which was cut throat and profit driven became very dominant in the new merger, a year after the merger was announced Boeing announced a stock buyback program that required them taking company money meant for production and using it to inflate company stocks instead and even mechanics at the company noticed the culture shift. So if you are wondering why what is supposedly the most reliable airplane maker in the world is churning out unreliable and unsafe aircraft that puts passengers at risk, there is your reason.


So dear Nigerian air users in the diaspora and at home, the next time you want to book a flight, please do well to check if it’s a Boeing plane or if it was manufactured by Airbus.

By Nnaemeka Odenigbo

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