2019 was a tough year for the aerospace industry — a year when a control system flaw caused the second catastrophic crash of a 737 MAX jet and sparked a worldwide grounding of Boeing’s fastest-selling plane.
Nine months after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed 157 people, the 737 MAX is still grounded. Boeing’s CEO and the head of its commercial airplanes unit have been replaced, and the prospects for the MAX’s return to flight are uncertain.
It’s not a good-news story. But it’s the biggest aerospace story of 2019 — especially for the Puget Sound region, where the 737 MAX and most of Boeing’s bigger airplanes are made.
I’ve been highlighting the top stories on the aerospace beat in year-end roundups for 22 years, and it’s hard to think of a bigger transitional time than 2019-2020 (though 2011-2012, marking the end of the space shuttle era, comes close).