Matthew Yglesias in Vox:
Boeing executives are offering a simple explanation for why the company’s best-selling plane in the world, the 737 MAX 8, crashed twice in the past several months, leaving Jakarta, Indonesia, in October and then Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March. Executives claimed Wednesday, March 27, that the cause was a software problem — and that a new software upgrade fixes it.
But this open-and-shut version of events conflicts with what diligent reporters in the aviation press have uncovered in the weeks since Asia, Europe, Canada, and then the United States grounded the planes.
The story begins nine years ago when Boeing was faced with a major threat to its bottom line, spurring the airline to rush a series of kludges through the certification process — with an under-resourced Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seemingly all too eager to help an American company threatened by a foreign competitor, rather than to ask tough questions about the project.