Dennis Muilenburg, the chairman, president and chief executive of The Boeing Company has published an open letter “to airlines, passengers and the aviation community” as the firm seeks to reinforce the aerospace giant’s commitment to safety. The message comes as the Boeing 737 MAX fleet enter their second week of grounding following concerns stemming from the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 10 and Lion Air flight JT610 on October 29, 2018. Both incidents involved newly delivered MAX 8 variants of Boeing’s enormously successful 737 model.
In his letter, Muilenburg emphasised that safety should, and does, come above all other considerations. “Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and ensuring safe and reliable travel on our airplanes is an enduring value and our absolute commitment to everyone,” he said.
“This overarching focus on safety spans and binds together our entire global aerospace industry and communities. We’re united with our airline customers, international regulators and government authorities in our efforts to support the most recent investigation, understand the facts of what happened and help prevent future tragedies.”
Muilenburg detailed that the company is currently working on upgrades to the computer programming and training related to the 737 MAX programme: “Soon we’ll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 MAX that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident. We’ve been working in full cooperation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board on all issues relating to both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian Airlines accidents since the Lion Air accident occurred in October last year,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, French investigators currently examining the black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines crash have said there are “clear similarities” between that incident and that of Lion Air Flight 610 last year. The French BEA said in a short statement: “During the verification process of the FDR [flight data recorder] data, clear similarities were noted by the investigation team between Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610, which will be the subject of further study during the investigation.” The BEA did not go into any further detail regarding the apparent similarities.