Boeing to cut 737 Max production after crashes
Washington: Boeing has announced that it was temporarily cutting production of its best-selling 737 Max airliner as the company works to return the plane to flight following the aircraft’s fall-out from crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia in the span of about five months.
“We have decided to temporarily move from a production rate of 52 airplanes per month to 42 airplanes per month starting in mid-April,” CNN quoted CEO Dennis Muilenburg as saying in a statement on Friday.
Muilenburg was talking about the company’s entire 737 production system, which includes more than just the Max line of jets. But most are Max planes.
The Max came under scrutiny following the two involving Indonesia’s Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines. A total of 346 people died in the two accidents.
All of Boeing’s 737 Max planes were grounded after the crash in Ethiopia on March 10.
In his statement on Friday, Muilenburg also said he has asked the company’s board to establish a committee that will review the policies and processes Boeing uses to design and develop its airplanes.
That committee will look at how effective the company is able to assure the “highest level of safety” for the Max planes, as well as Boeing’s other planes.
The latest decision comes the day after a preliminary report on the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy showed that the pilots of that plane performed all of the aircraft manufacturer’s procedures, but were unable to control the jet before it crashed, CNN reported.
On Thursday, Boeing recognised the similarities between the two crashes, and acknowledged the role of its anti-stall system.
The Ethiopian report does not specifically name that system, but its findings seem to indicate that the system pushed the plane into a dive fuelled by erroneous angle of attack sensor readings.
Boeing is working to develop a software fix that will get the 371 grounded 737 Max jets back in the air.
Muilenburg also said on Thursday that the company was “sorry for the lives lost” in the 737 Max crashes.
“The history of our industry shows most accidents are caused by a chain of events,” he wrote in his apology.
“This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents.”
Boeing’s stock dipped nearly 2 per cent in after-hours trading on Friday.