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Boeing CEO stands by 'fundamental safety' of 737 MAX jets following Ethiopian Airlines report

‘We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX,’ CEO Muilenburg said. .

Stock photo of 737 Max jet
Stock photo of 737 Max jet
Image: Shutterstock/Skycolors

THE CEO OF Boeing has defended the “fundamental safety” of the aircraft manufacturer’s 737 Max jets which were involved in two fatal plane crashes in the past six months. 

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO and chair of the company, made the comments following the publication of a preliminary report into the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash which happened on 10 March. 

The passenger flight took off from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and was destined for the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, but went down six minutes after takeoff. 

Ethiopian Transport Minister, Dagmawit Moges, said: “The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft.” 

The report recommends “the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer” and it should ensure a “review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed,” Moges said. 

In a response, Boeing’s CEO said a review and upgrade of the software onboard the 737 Max fleet but that he remained confident in the safety of the jets. 

‘We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX,” he said. 

“We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We’re nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead.

“All who fly on it—the passengers, flight attendants and pilots, including our own families and friends—deserve our best. When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

The Ethiopian Airlines flight was one of two tragic crashes involving a 737 Max jet after Lion Air Flight 610 crashed in the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, last October. 

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There were no survivors to either crash and a combined total of 346 passengers and crew lost their lives in the incidents. 

Another Boeing 737 Max jet was also forced to turn back in Florida last month due to an engine fault.

Muilenburg said he could not remember a more “heart-wrenching” time during his career with the company and added, “we know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us”. 

“Together, we’ll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead.

Boeing has since grounded all flights on the aircraft, while countries across the world, including Ireland, the UK and the US put a temporary ban on the aircraft flying into its airspace.

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