Boeing C.E.O. acknowledges ‘Mistake’ over 737 Max warning light

  17 June 2019    Read: 997
Boeing C.E.O. acknowledges ‘Mistake’ over 737 Max warning light

Boeing’s chief executive said on Sunday that the company made a “mistake” in how it handled a cockpit warning light on the 737 Max. Dennis Muilenburg, the executive, made the comments while addressing reporters on the eve of the Paris Air Show, one of the most important sales events for aircraft manufacturers around the world, NYTimes reports. 

When Boeing began delivering the Max to airlines in 2017, the company believed that the light was operational on all the jets. But after the Max began flying that year, engineers at the company learned that the warning light would work only if a carrier had purchased a separate cockpit indicator.

Most Max customers, including Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, did not buy the separate indicator. That left many airlines without a functional warning light.

The light alerts pilots of a disagreement between two sensors that measure which direction the plane is pointed. Preliminary investigations suggested that problems with these so-called angle-of-attack sensors contributed to the crashes of two jets, a Lion Air flight last October and an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March, in which 346 people died.

The company did not inform regulators or airlines about the problem for about a year, after conducting an internal review that determined that the issue “did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation,” Boeing said in a statement last month.

Administration, criticized the company for waiting so long to tell the agency about the issue in a May hearing, saying he was “not happy” with the delay. Boeing discussed the matter with the F.A.A. only after the Lion Air Flight 610 crash.

“We clearly had a mistake in the implementation of the alert,” Mr. Muilenburg said on Sunday, according to The Associated Press, echoing a similar statement he made in a CBS interview last month.

Mr. Muilenburg also said the company’s “inconsistent” communication with regulators and customers about the warning light was “unacceptable.”

The Paris Air Show, a critical biennial sales conference for the global aerospace industry, has been a triumphant affair for Boeing in the past. In 2017, the company won 571 orders and commitments for new jets, many of them Maxes, outperforming its archrival, Airbus.

Boeing is entering this year’s gathering in a weaker position, as its best-selling plane remains grounded around the globe with no set timeline for its return.

Delayed Max deliveries have weighed on the company’s bottom line, contributing to a decline of $1 billion in revenue for its commercial airplanes division. Boeing chose not to offer its customary yearly sales and profits forecast in April, while announcing its worst quarterly results in years.


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