Aviation

Boeing to cut 737 MAX output and focus on fixing anti-stall software implicated in crashes

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Boeing has announced it will reduce its output on manufacturing for the 737 MAX aircraft, in order to focus its attention on fixing the anti-stall software that has been implicated in two fatal crashes.

In the first preliminary report into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, Boeing’s Movement Characteristic Augmentation System (MCAS) was confirmed as contributing to the crash, as well as last year’s Lion Air flight 610 disaster.

In the last month, news has circulated around the possibility of the system’s involvement in the crash, with experts surrounding both the Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 drawing correlations between the two disasters.

Flight data recorder information confirms the aeroplane had an erroneous angle of attack sensor input that activated the MCAS function during the flight, as it had during the Lion Air 610 flight.

As a result, both jets experienced nosedives from the intervention of the MCAS system, which is designed to pitch the plane down when the anti-stall technology detects an imminent stall.

The company has said starting in mid April, production of the plane will be cut by nearly 20 per cent, from 52 to 42 planes per month.

The Boeing Company chairman, president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg described the production cut as temporary and a response to the suspension of MAX deliveries.

Boeing has been working tirelessly to fix its MCAS issue, hosting pilots and airline executives from around the world, including Virgin Australia, to demonstrate its commitment to improving the software.

“We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right. We’re nearing completion and anticipate its certification and implementation on the 737 MAX fleet worldwide in the weeks ahead. We regret the impact the grounding has had on our airline customers and their passengers,” Muilenberg said.

“This update, along with the associated training and additional educational materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents, will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again.

“We at Boeing take the responsibility to build and deliver aeroplanes to our airline customers and to the flying public that are safe to fly, and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world. This is what we do at Boeing.”

The company claims it is weeks away from submitting its software updates and training program to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval.

“When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly,” Muilenberg said.

Following the release of Ethiopia’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau report, Muilenberg issued an apology on behalf of the company for the lives lost in Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.

Ethiopian Airlines issued a further statement via Twitter, with the company confirming its pilots followed proper guidance but could not control its Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner last month.

On top of fronting enormous public and private pressure, Boeing faces a federal court lawsuit from the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda who was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster.

At the time of its submission, the suit alleged that Boeing defectively designed the automated flight control system.

“I’d like to reiterate our deepest sympathies are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the accident,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister in a written statement.

“We thank Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau for its hard work and continuing efforts. Understanding the circumstances that contributed to this accident is critical to ensuring a safe flight. We will carefully review the AIB’s preliminary report, and will take any and all additional steps necessary to enhance the safety of our aircraft.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

“We will all get through this”: Guy Sebastian’s heartwarming message to MTA agents

The ARIA award-winning singer-songwriter sent a video to MTA agents and its head office team extending his support amid the coronavirus crisis.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Wrap: Tourism Australia’s message of hope, Vanuatu keeps it beautiful + MORE!

Despite hardship, tourism boards and destinations near and far are staying hopeful, with their eyes set firmly on recovery.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Accor pledges $125 million towards COVID-19 employee fund

The hotel giant will allocate 25 per cent of a withdrawn dividend to a special-purpose fund for its employees.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Security guard becomes social media icon after taking over cowboy museum’s Twitter account

Amid public closures due to COVID-19 around the world, a museum employee has become an instant social media sensation.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas, Flight Centre mooted as acquisition targets for Wesfarmers

While the uncertain future of Virgin Australia has stolen most of the spotlight amid the COVID-19 crisis, speculation surrounding its fierce rival is now heating up.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival to face criminal investigation over Ruby Princess deaths

NSW Police will investigate whether or not Ruby Princess followed state and biosecurity laws when it docked in Sydney, after an 11th passenger dies.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Coronavirus claims Ensemble Travel Group’s ANZ business

by Huntley Mitchell

In sad news, Ensemble Travel Group will close its Australia and New Zealand business next month, as the company scrambles to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Police pull off largest peacetime operation to get cruise ships home

NSW Police have pulled off what they are calling ‘Operation Nemesis’ in a bid to get cruise ships back to their home port and crew members repatriated.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA to help agents mentally prepare for challenges ahead

Are you struggling with your mental health amid all the uncertainty and damage caused by COVID-19? We highly recommend checking out these new webinars courtesy of AFTA.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Intrepid launches social media campaign to highlight the importance of travel

The adventure travel company is encouraging travellers to write a letter to someone who made their travel experience special.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

STUDY: Australia’s airline emissions could halve due to COVID-19

This new bit of research proves there’s a silver lining to the impact of COVID-19 on commercial aviation.

Share

CommentComments

News

How Travel Weekly has got your back during the COVID-19 crisis

We’ve come up with a few initiatives to help you recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever. Find out what they are here.

Share

CommentComments