The boss of Boeing pledged yesterday to rebuild public trust in the company following the worldwide grounded of 737 Maxs in the wake of two fatal crashes.
Chief executive Dennis Muilenburg revealed that the company hosted more than 200 regulators and airline officials for an “informational session” in Seattle last month as it works on a key software fix.
Similar meetings have been held in the UK, Singapore and China with international airline pilots and regulators in the last two weeks.
Pilots and leaders from 67% of more than 50 Max operators worldwide have participated in a simulator session that included the new software update, Muilenburg told a leadership forum in Dallas.
Two crashes, one in Indonesia in October involving a Lion Air aircraft and another in Ethiopia last month, killed 346 people and led to the grounding of the aircraft worldwide.
Muilenburg said: “As we continue working closely with our airline customers and global regulators to return the 737 Max to service, I’m focused on making the adjustments necessary to allow our teams to prioritise additional resources and focus on the recovery efforts.
“We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us. We’ll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our airline customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead.
“We take the responsibility to build and deliver airplanes that are safe to fly and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world.
“My team and I are working closely with our customers to answer their questions, get their feedback and ensure those who operate the Max are prepared when the grounding is lifted and the fleet returns to flight.”
He said: “From the days immediately following the Lion Air accident, our top engineers and technical experts have been working tirelessly in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and our customers to finalize and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like these never happen again.
“The update will make the 737 Max even safer by preventing erroneous angle of attack sensor readings from triggering the Manoeuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, something that initial investigation reports indicate occurred in both Max accidents, as one link in a longer chain of events.”
And he stressed: “We know we can break this chain link. It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk.
“We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach – and taking the time – to make sure we get it right.
“Overall, our team has made 96 flights totalling a little over 159 hours of air time with the updated software. They will conduct additional test and production flights in the coming weeks as we continue to demonstrate that we’ve identified and met all certification requirements.
“We look forward to completing near-term milestones on the path to final certification.
“We want everyone to be confident that the additional training and educational resources we’re developing and deploying will do the job. This confidence is important also to our airlines’ pilots and team members.
“We regret the impact the grounding has had on all of our airline customers and their passengers.”
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