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737 MAX crisis is ‘defining moment’ for Boeing: CEO

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Dennis Muilenburg. by .
Dennis Muilenburg.

The Boeing 737 MAX crisis has become a “defining moment” for the company, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said, but added that he was confident it hasn’t hurt the company’s long-term growth prospects…reports Asian Lite News

Dennis Muilenburg. by .
Dennis Muilenburg.

Speaking at a New York analyst conference on Wednesday, Muilenburg said the company was laser-focused on getting the globally grounded 737 MAX fleet back in the air, although he did not give a timeline for when he thought that could happen.

The 737 Max was grounded worldwide after a fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet this March, which took place within a span of five months of a fatal crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia in October 2018.

Crash investigators have focused on an automatic safety feature on the jet as a possible contributor to the crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

The CEO also did not comment on the overall cost to the company, but said he was convinced the aircraft will be safe once it returns to service.

“Public confidence has been hurt, and we have work to do to earn and re-earn the trust of the flying public,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure… the MAX is safe to fly.”

Muilenburg said Boeing will work with airlines on different forms of compensation for the grounding and the halt in new deliveries. He said some of that compensation could be in supplying services or future purchases at reduced cost.

“There are a number of different ways we can address this issue,” he said. “In some cases cash may be part of the solution.”

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently reviewing a software fix Boeing has completed for the aircraft.

Muilenburg said he hopes that aviation authorities around the world will follow the FAA’s lead, once it certifies the aircraft was safe to fly.

Both Boeing and the FAA have come under intense scrutiny over the certification process for the 737 MAX since the March crash, CNN reported.

Muilenburg maintained on Wednesday the certification was done properly. He said he was confident the FAA’s process, which allows manufactures such as Boeing to self-certify parts of new aircrafts, is the best system.

But he said Boeing is open to any changes in that process suggested by the various ongoing reviews.

Later on Wednesday, the Boeing CEO also appeared on CBS News, where he publicly apologized to the victims of the 737 MAX crashes.