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Boeing's Problems Expand to Politicians After U.S. Government 737 Plane Breaks Down in Switzerland

Boeing's Problems Expand to Politicians After U.S. Government 737 Plane Breaks Down in Switzerland


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due to return to Washington from Davos, Switzerland on January 17. However, he could not due to a critical malfunction with his Boeing aircraft. The aircraft in question was a modified Boeing C-40, a U.S. Air Force aircraft assigned to Joint Base Andrews. The incident is unrelated to previous Boeing troubles with the 737 MAX aircraft, although the C-40 is a modified 737 aircraft.


Blinken boarding an aircraft in Istanbul on January 6, 2024 | Photo: Getty Images


Crews detected a previous oxygen leak with the aircraft, forcing the aircraft swap. Blinken and his staff reportedly obtained a replacement aircraft, only having to wait in Zurich for a couple of hours for the aircraft to arrive. The new aircraft was reportedly smaller and could not accommodate press members, so the press was requested to make commercial arrangements to return to the United States. There were no disruptions to Secretary Blinken’s schedule, and he attended all World Economic Forum events as planned.




C-40 aircraft have widespread usage throughout the U.S. Air Force and are assigned to at least five air bases. They are maintained by the U.S. Naval Reserve and not an independent airline or Boeing-related team. Their safety record is nearly impeccable and has never faced strict scrutiny.


A C-40 aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force | Photo: Air Mobility Command


However, the malfunction detection continues to pressure Boeing’s crumbling reputation as it faces repeated calls from airlines and regulators to re-evaluate its 737 MAX program. Earlier this month, an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX9 aircraft lost a door plug while operating as flight 1282; although no fatalities were recorded, the plane had to make an emergency landing, and the aircraft remained grounded. 


In 2018 and 2019, two 737 MAX aircraft were involved in fatal crashes, killing a total of 346 individuals. The FAA continues to investigate Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems, which are responsible for manufacturing the malfunctioning door plug on Alaska Flight 1282.




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Davis Turner
Planespotter and aviation journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Davis has previously worked on business plan research with StartupBoeing and historical analysis with Ricondo and Associates. Davis will be a freshman in college this fall, based in Chicago.

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