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Boeing Workers Mock 'Monkey & Clowns' in Damning Internal Memos

Boeing employees mocked the planemaker's safety culture in a series of damning memos published late Thursday. Meanwhile, world leaders suggest Wednesday's crash of a Ukraine International Airlines 737-800 could have been caused by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

Boeing Co.  (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report has published damning internal messages that reveal significant concerns for the safety of its grounded 737 MAX, while the planemaker continues to search for answers amid the early investigation into this week's crash of another Boeing-made aircraft in Iran.

The messages, which Boeing released to the Federal Aviation Administration as well as House and Senate committees, raise serious questions over Boeing's reluctance to train 737 MAX crew in pilot simulators -- which are more expensive and time-consuming -- as opposed to using computer-based methods. 

Boeing admitted that the messages, which included characterizations of the 737 MAX being "designed by clowns" who were "supervised by monkeys", contained "provocative language, but insisted they were part of its commitment to transparency as it works with U.S lawmakers to return the grounded aircraft back into circulation following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people over the past two years.

We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the FAA, Congress, our airline customers, and to the flying public for them," Boeing said in a statement. "We have made significant changes as a company to enhance our safety processes, organizations, and culture." 

"The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response," the statement added. "This will ultimately include disciplinary or other personnel action, once the necessary reviews are completed."

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Boeing shares were marked 0.1% lower in early trading Friday to change hands at $335.89 each, a move that would put the stock's three-month decline at around 10%.

The planemaker's name remained firmly in the headlines Friday, as well, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday's cash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 from Tehran -- a Boeing 737-800NG which crashed shortly after takeoff -- was brought down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

Iran has denied the allegation, adding it would share downloaded information from the flight's 'black box' and share it with investigators from Russia, Canada, France and Ukraine. The process, Iran's civil aviation chief said, could take up to two years.

Sixty-three Canadian citizens were on board the flight, Ukraine International Airlines said, which carried a total of 167 passengers and 9 crew members.

U.S. media outlets have reported that military sources suggest "heat signatures" Flight 752 was hit by a surface-to-air missile shortly after takeover, as Iranian soldiers mistakenly identified the civilian aircraft of a U.S. military plane.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, told reporters Thursday that he had "suspicions" as to how the plane came to its demise, adding "it was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. Somebody could have made a mistake."