Boeing says 737 Max update is being held up by FAA questions

Nellie Chapman
May 18, 2019

The 737 MAX fleet was grounded globally after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed on March 10.

Last month, speaking at a leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Muilenburg said Boeing is "taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach and taking the time to make sure that we get it right".

Southwest and its pilots union have received subpoenas in a federal grand jury investigation into the Max, as have aviator groups at United Continental Holdings Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. Boeing says it has flown more than 200 test flights with the new software.

The FAA's aircraft certification chief, Earl Lawrence, told Congress on Wednesday the agency has been reviewing a preliminary version of the software provided by Boeing. Almost half of 1,700 fliers questioned in a recent survey said they would wait a year after the 737 MAX's return to fly the plane, according to Barclays.

When the same automated feature - known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System - mistakenly kicked in less than five months later on the 737 Max involved in the Ethiopia crash - the pilots "didn't adhere to the emergency" directive issued by the FAA in November, Elwell said.

On Thursday (US time), aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced it has fixed a software glitch which may have caused the crashes. The Boeing representative called the Lion Air crash a tragedy, and in a macabre prediction, added that "an even worse thing would be another one". He promised a software update in six weeks.

Three Britons dead after plane crash near Dubai airport
Four people have been killed after a plane owned by a Shoreham-based company crashed in Dubai , the BBC has reported. The four-seater DA42 plane, registered in the United Kingdom , was calibrating terrestrial navigation systems.


The update was still not done when the Ethiopian crash occurred more than three months later.

Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company has finished all of the engineering test flights for the software update and is preparing for the final certification flight. Carey said his pilots are seeking "proper oversight" of Boeing, the FAA, and airlines including their own.

While how the FAA moves largely out of Boeing's control, Seifman points out that the company is using the lower production (42/month) of the Max "to bring the supply chain up to rate (52/month, in most cases) and move past the production challenges it has encountered in 2018 and early 2019".

Michael Stumo and Nadia Milleron (R), parents of Samya Stumo, 24, a MA resident who died in the Ethiopian plane crash, listen during a House Transportation Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 15, 2019, on the status of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

"It is possible that these planes should never go back in the air", she said.

Global airlines have warned of a major hit to profits due to the mid-March grounding of the MAX following two fatal crashes. "Just to say that the USA standards are very good and this might be a problem with other parts of the globe, I don't think that's part of the answer".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER