Sat, Apr 13, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Boeing makes 96 flights to test Max jet software


Boeing Co chief executive Dennis Muilenburg speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s forum on leadership in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Boeing Co has made 96 flights to test a software update for its troubled 737 Max jet, chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg said on Thursday.

More test flights are planned in the coming weeks as Boeing attempts to convince regulators that the plane is safe, he added.

The Max was grounded by regulators around the world last month after deadly crashes involving the plane in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

In both cases, faulty information from a sensor caused anti-stall automation to kick in when it was not needed and push the plane’s nose down. Pilots struggled to counter the plane’s actions, but were unable to avoid crashing.

Muilenburg, who spoke at a leadership forum in Dallas, said that Boeing representatives have met with pilots and airline officials in the US, the UK, Singapore and China to discuss the changes it is making.

Separately, US Senator Edward Markey on Thursday introduced a bill in the US Congress requiring plane makers to provide airlines with all safety equipment now considered optional and to do so without an additional charge.

Markey said safety equipment that had not been installed on the Boeing 737 Max jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia might have saved them from fatal crashes.

He said the equipment could have alerted crews to false readings from sensors implicated in those crashes.

Markey said plane makers should not treat safety features as luxuries that can generate additional fees like premium seats and extra bathrooms.

Meanwhile, US aviation regulators planned to meet with airlines and pilot unions yesterday to discuss safety issues on Boeing’s grounded 737 Max aircraft.

The meeting, which was to include representatives of the three US carriers that fly the model, is part of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) review of the plane’s safety, the agency said in a statement.

“The purpose of this meeting is for the FAA to gather facts, information, and individual views to further understand their views as FAA decides what needs to be done before returning the aircraft to service,” it said.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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