Is the Pressure for Profits Making Airlines Unsafe?

The endless quest for short-term results continues to create toxic workplace cultures. In just the latest in a seemingly endless string of bad news about airlines, United Airline is about to be slapped with a massive fine from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying a Boeing 787 without inspecting a repair. In fact, the plane flew 23 domestic and international flights before making sure the fuel pressure switch replacement was working properly. According to the New York Times, two of those flights were after the FAA notified United that it still needed to complete the inspection.  

This sort of employee behavior is often due to pressure to impress shareholders. I fear that United may be expecting employees to make short cuts to reduce costs. This situation requires a full independent investigation to protect the safety of the passengers. After the April overbooking fiasco where a Kentucky doctor was dragged off an overbooked plane and injured, can United really afford to do any less?

Andrew Faas is the author of From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire.

Illustration credit: Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News