- Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg vowed that the 737 Max will be "one of the safest planes to ever fly" once the grounded airliner returns to service.
- "We’re very confident that when the fleet comes back up the Max will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly," Muilenburg said.
- The Boeing CEO made the statement in response to a question by Bank of America Merril Lynch analyst Ron Epstein during the company’s first quarter 2019 earnings call on Wednesday.
- According to Boeing, the grounding of the 737 Max along with the software fix is expected to cost the company $1 billion.
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Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg vowed that the 737 Max will be "one of the safest planes to ever fly" once the grounded airliner returns to service.
Muilenburg made the statement in response to a question by Bank of America Merril Lynch analyst Ron Epstein during the company’s first quarter 2019 earnings call on Wednesday.
Epstein, a former Boeing applied research scientist, asked Muilenburg how the company let the problem’s plaguing the 737 Max slip through the engineering and certification process.
The Boeing CEO said in response:
"I can tell you with confidence we understand our airplane. We understand how the design was accomplished, how the certification was accomplished, I remain fully confident in the product that we put in the field but we also know there are areas where we can improve and that is the source of the software update here. But there was no surprise or gap or unknown here or something that somehow slipped through a certification process. Quite the opposite. We know exactly how the airplane was designed. We know exactly how it was certified. We’ve taken the time to understand that. That has led to the software update that we’ve been implementing and testing. We’re very confident that when the fleet comes back up the Max will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly."
The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded globally since March 13 following the crashes of Lion Air Flight JT610 in October and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 last month. In total, 346 passengers and crew were killed in the two crashes. Both incidents involved nearly brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners that crashed after suffering from control problems shortly after take off.
REUTERS/Jason RedmondBoeing confirmed earlier this month that false readings from one of the 737 Max’s angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors triggered the plane’s MCAS or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System on both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian jets. As a result, MCAS improperly pushed the nose of the plane down during takeoff.
Boeing has been testing a suite of software updates designed to fix the 737 Max’s control issues. The US Federal Aviation Administration is expected to receive Boeing’s proposed software fix in the coming weeks.
MCAS, itself, exists as a safety apparatus to correct an issue with the 737 Max’s flight dynamics.
To fit the Max’s larger, more fuel-efficient engines, Boeing had to position the engine farther forward and up. This change disrupted the plane’s center of gravity and caused the Max to have a tendency to tip its nose upward during flight, increasing the likelihood of a stall. MCAS is designed to automatically counteract that tendency and point the nose of the plane down when the plane’s AOA sensor triggers a warning.
According to Boeing, the grounded of the 737 Max along with the software fix is expected to cost the company $1 billion.
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