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Worries emerge over China capitalizing on Boeing's mistakes: A 'giant social experiment,' Republican rep says

While U.S.-based airlines focus on globalization and DEI, China is at the "cutting edge" of commercial flights amid recent safety incidents, according to Rep. Jeff Van Drew.

Despite one airline’s attempt to reassure Americans that the skies remain safe, one Republican lawmaker is expressing concerns over globalization practices at the expense of consumers.

"As a congressman who sits on the Transportation Committee, I am not confident," Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., said on "Mornings with Maria" Tuesday.

"China is getting now, as you know, into the airline industry. China isn't worried about being a giant social experiment. They want to have the best planes, the fastest planes, the safest planes, the most cutting-edge planes," he continued. "That should be the American policy and the American philosophy."

On Monday, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby directly addressed a string of incidents that have recently involved its planes, from engine and structural issues to a wheel falling off during takeoff.


"Safety is our highest priority and is at the center of everything we do," Kirby said in a letter sent to United customers. "Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, our airline has experienced a number of incidents that are reminders of the importance of safety."

At least six unrelated incidents have occurred on planes operated by United since the end of February. Five of them involved a Boeing plane.

Van Drew pointed to manufacturing and supply chain decisions made by the industry as the main issue, especially when importing from China.

"We're globalizing. We are sending out and trying to get the cheapest parts and materials we can. And worst of all, we're having this social experiment within Boeing," the congressman said, arguing the plane maker cares more about looking like "cool kids."

"If we're not careful, we're going to rely on China just as we are for batteries, for electric cars. Well, it's going to happen with transportation as well," he said. "We're going to rely on China for our airlines."

China will also allegedly be able to eat into the U.S. airline market as Van Drew claimed Boeing’s DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives played a role in distracting from safety priorities.

"The most important thing to people, all Americans, is that we have the safest and best planes," the lawmaker said. "This is happening in the military as well, and, unfortunately, in our budgets, in our appropriations bills [are] chock-full of all these bills, in all different areas are all kinds of DEI requirements and personnel being hired for DEI. We're focusing on the wrong stuff."


Kirby said United is currently in the process of reviewing the details of each incident to better understand what happened. The airline is using those insights to "inform our safety training and procedures across all employee groups," Kirby added.

The chief executive said he is empowering the company's team to "speak up" if they see something wrong. Still, he said that passengers can still "be confident that every time a United plane pulls away from the gate, everyone on our team is working together to keep you safe on your trip."


FOX Business’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.

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