Boe­ing ex­ecs on quest to ‘re-earn’ pub­lic’s trust

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Business - By AYA BATRAWY

DUBAI, United Arab Emi­rates — A se­nior Boe­ing ex­ec­u­tive said Satur­day the com­pany knows it has to re-earn the pub­lic’s trust as it works to win ap­proval from U.S. reg­u­la­tors to get its grounded 737 Max jets fly­ing again af­ter crashes that killed 346 peo­ple.

Stan Deal, pres­i­dent and CEO of Boe­ing Com­mer­cial Air­planes, said the com­pany’s “num­ber one fo­cus re­mains safely re­turn­ing the Max.”

Chicago-based Boe­ing has spent the past year mak­ing changes to flight soft­ware that played a role in crashes of two of its 737 Max jets.

Deal said the com­pany knows it has “to re­store the con­fi­dence of our cus­tomers and the fly­ing pub­lic in Boe­ing.”

“We know we got to reearn that trust,” Deal said.

Deal, whose di­vi­sion over­sees the jet, spoke to re­porters in Dubai ahead of the bi­en­nial Dubai Air­show, which starts Sun­day and is ex­pected to pro­duce ma­jor deals be­tween com­mer­cial and mil­i­tary man­u­fac­tur­ers and Mideast buy­ers.

Boe­ing has cus­tomers in the re­gion fi­nan­cially im­pacted by the ground­ing of the 737 Max, in­clud­ing bud­get car­rier Fly­dubai, which has more than a dozen of the jets in its fleet and more on or­der. Boe­ing is work­ing to com­pen­sate both its cus­tomers and the fam­i­lies of vic­tims who died in the crashes.

In­ter­nal Boe­ing doc­u­ments have re­vealed that be­fore the crashes com­pany em­ploy­ees had raised con­cerns about the au­to­mated flight-con­trol sys­tem that played a part in push­ing the planes’ noses down un­til the jets plum­meted, as well as the hec­tic pace of air­plane pro­duc­tion at Boe­ing.

Boe­ing be­gan work­ing on up­dat­ing the plane’s flight soft­ware shortly af­ter last year’s Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air jet off the coast of In­done­sia. Af­ter the sec­ond crash — an Ethiopian Air­lines Max that went down near Ad­dis Ababa af­ter take­off on March 10 - the plane was grounded around the world.

In ques­tion­ing be­fore U.S. se­na­tors last month, Boe­ing CEO Den­nis Muilen­burg ac­knowl­edged the com­pany “made mis­takes, and we got some things wrong.”

Boe­ing has set­tled dozens of law­suits filed by fam­i­lies of pas­sen­gers killed in the two crashes. Terms of the set­tle­ments are be­ing kept con­fi­den­tial at Boe­ing’s in­sis­tence, ac­cord­ing to lawyers.

“The num­ber one goal here is safely re­turn­ing, and the FAA and the reg­u­la­tors around the world will pace the sched­ule... and we’re fully sup­port­ive of that ap­proach,” Deal told re­porters in Dubai.

The com­pany ex­pects Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­proval in Jan­uary for a new pi­lot-train­ing pro­gram around the changes, which would let U.S. air­lines re­sume us­ing the plane early next year, though it could take longer for reg­u­la­tors in other coun­tries to ap­prove the changes. The FAA, mean­while, has not laid out a timetable for ap­prov­ing Boe­ing’s changes.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Stan Deal, pres­i­dent and CEO of Boe­ing Com­mer­cial Air­planes (cen­ter right), speaks, with Ted Col­bert (left), Pres­i­dent and CEO of Boe­ing Global Ser­vices, Leanne Caret (sec­ond from left), pres­i­dent and CEO of Boe­ing De­fense, Space & Se­cu­rity, and Gor­don John­droe, vice pres­i­dent of Govern­ment Op­er­a­tions Com­mu­ni­ca­tions of Boe­ing, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Satur­day, a day be­fore Dubai Air­show in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates

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