(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Aviation Administration received more than 11 times as many Boeing Co. whistleblower reports in the first five months of this year compared to all of 2023, according to data the agency shared with Bloomberg News. 

From Jan. 5 through May, 126 tips were reported to the regulator, compared to 11 in all of 2023, the FAA said in a statement Friday. 

That surge indicates the intense scrutiny faced by Boeing, internally and externally, after a fuselage panel blew off a 737 Max jetliner during an Alaska Airlines flight in January. US investigators have said the piece was missing four bolts meant to secure it in place, a revelation that helped to unearth a series of manufacturing and quality lapses at the company.

FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker said during a Senate hearing on Thursday that the FAA had “multiple active investigations” into the aircraft manufacturer, coinciding with a rise in reports coming from whistleblowers and through the agency’s safety hotline.

After the hearing, he told reporters that can be a sign of an improving safety culture. “You expect to see an increase in reports when you have a safe place for employees to report, so that’s what we want to see,” Whitaker said, adding that he’d be a little worried if the agency hadn’t seen an increase in numbers.

Earlier: Boeing Discloses 787 Fastener Issue as FAA Steps Up Scrutiny

The FAA said in its statement on Friday that during a visit to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington, over the winter, Whitaker asked Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun to share the FAA hotline information with all Boeing employees, and Calhoun did.

At the same time, Boeing has said it’s encouraging employees to submit safety concerns to an internal program called “Speak Up.”

The company has cited a more than 500% increase in submissions in the first two months of 2024 compared with the same period in 2023. A report prepared by a panel of experts that was released in February criticized aspects of the program, finding that many employees didn’t trust that it was truly anonymous. 

Boeing has also said that since January it’s received tens of thousands of employee suggestions for improvement from quality standdowns  — when production and delivery activities are paused for a day to focus on safety.

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