Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

'We clearly fell short' - Boeing CEO on 737 MAX problems

Aeromexico MAX Aeromexico say that the grounding of the MAX has ‘hurt’ them
Patty Aguilar | 02 June, 2019, 13:54

A note from CFRA Research characterized the timeframe for the 737 MAX resumption as "worse" than expected, but said Boeing was still well positioned once it exits the crisis.

The 737 Max was grounded worldwide after a fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet this March, which took place within a span of five months of a fatal crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia in October 2018.

Chief executive Dennis Muilenburg's remarks to CBS News - his first interview since the global grounding of the plane following two crashes that claimed 346 lives - came as a top airline representative signalled that the top-selling jets could be out of service at least through mid- to late-August.

Operators based in the USA such as Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have removed the 737 Max model from their flight schedules until mid August, despite reports emerging last week that the FAA hopes to approve the jet's return to service as soon as late next month.

Elwell said no final decision has been made on pilot training, and he declined to give a timetable for the agency's review, saying only that the FAA won't allow the Max to return to the skies until it is convinced the plane is safe.

Boeing has admitted it "fell short" when it failed to implement a safety alert system on the 737 Max.

Southwest's concerns about passengers who may not want to fly in the 737 Max are reasonable.

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But Muilenburg, who also issued a sweeping apology to the families of flight victims during the interview, said he believes in the plane and would have no reservations putting his family aboard.

Boeing has been preparing for the Max's return to service one regulators lift the ban on the grounded jet, meeting with airlines and drawing up plans for suppliers, he said.

Speaking at a Bernstein conference in New York, Muilenburg said the company continues to expect to ramp up its long-term production rate to 57 aircraft per month after cutting monthly output to 42 planes in response to the groundings. "We've impacted our airline customers, we regret that as well".

The global aviation association IATA expects Boeing's troubled 737 MAX 8 plane to remain grounded for at least 10 to 12 more weeks, director general Alexandre de Juniac said Wednesday.

According to Reuters, sources at ICAO, the United Nations aviation agency, believe the FAA will approve the 737 Max again as soon as late June.

Muilenburg said Boeing was prepared to be flexible as more customers get the green light.

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