Boe­ing apol­o­gizes for Max crashes as Paris show be­gins

The Olympian - - Front Page - BY AN­GELA CHARL­TON

Boe­ing ex­ec­u­tives apol­o­gized Mon­day to air­lines and fam­i­lies of vic­tims of 737 Max crashes in In­done­sia and Ethiopia, as the U.S. plane maker strug­gles to re­gain the trust of reg­u­la­tors, pi­lots and the global trav­el­ing pub­lic.

Some vic­tims’ fam­i­lies wel­comed Boe­ing’s ges­ture. Oth­ers called it too lit­tle, too late.

Boe­ing was in a vis­i­bly con­trite mood at the open­ing of the Paris Air Show, where safety was on many minds as the global avi­a­tion elite gath­ered to show­case and trade cut­ting-edge, costly tech­nol­ogy.

“We are very sorry for the loss of lives” in the Lion Air crash in Oc­to­ber and Ethiopian Air­lines crash in March, Kevin McAl­lis­ter, CEO of Boe­ing’s com­mer­cial air­craft, told re­porters. A to­tal of 346 peo­ple were killed in the dis­as­ters.

McAl­lis­ter also said “I’m sorry for the dis­rup­tion” to air­lines from the sub­se­quent ground­ing of all Max planes world­wide, and to their pas­sen­gers fac­ing sum­mer travel dis­rup­tions.

Boe­ing ex­ec­u­tives de­fended im­prove­ments to Max soft­ware that has been im­pli­cated in the crashes, but couldn’t pre­dict when the plane could fly again.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions are un­der­way into what hap­pened, though it’s known that an­gle-mea­sur­ing sensors in both planes mal­func­tioned, alert­ing an­ti­stall soft­ware to push the noses of the planes down. The pi­lots were un­able to take back con­trol of the planes.

“Now they have apol­o­gized,” said Ningsi Ay­orbaba, a mother of three whose hus­band Paul Fer­di­nand Ay­orbaba was killed in the Lion Air crash. “I hope this is a good sig­nal” for fam­i­lies like hers that have filed law­suits against Boe­ing.

“No amount of money can bring my loved one back, but I

‘‘ NO AMOUNT OF MONEY CAN BRING MY LOVED ONE BACK, BUT I WANT BOE­ING TO BE MORE TRANSPAREN­T IN THE COM­PEN­SA­TION PROCESS FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHIL­DREN. Ningsi Ay­orbaba, a mother of three whose hus­band Paul Fer­di­nand Ay­orbaba was killed in the Lion Air crash

want Boe­ing to be more transparen­t in the com­pen­sa­tion process for the sake of the chil­dren” of vic­tims left be­hind, she told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

In­done­sia’s Transporta­tion Min­istry spokesman, Hengki Angka­sawan, said his gov­ern­ment needs “transparen­t work of the air­craft maker to fix the prob­lem.”

Boe­ing has ac­knowl­edged botched com­mu­ni­ca­tion with reg­u­la­tors over a cock­pit warn­ing sys­tem in the 737 Max, and is promis­ing more trans­parency about its promised fix.

Ethiopian Air­lines CEO Te­wolde Ge­bremariam said only that Boe­ing’s apol­ogy “is con­sis­tent with our opin­ion.”

An Ethiopian who lost her younger brother in the Ethiopian Air­lines crash said Boe­ing’s apol­ogy is not enough to re­turn lost loved ones, and ex­pressed con­cern about Boe­ing’s push to re­turn the 737 Max to the skies.

The Max is cru­cial to Boe­ing’s fu­ture. It is the new­est ver­sion of Boe­ing’s best-sell­ing plane, and was a di­rect re­sponse to Air­bus’ fuel-ef­fi­cient A320­neo. Cus­tomers like the fuel ef­fi­ciency be­cause it saves money and helps them re­spond to grow­ing pub­lic and reg­u­la­tory pres­sure to re­duce emis­sions. But Air­bus has out­paced Boe­ing in sell­ing planes in this cat­e­gory.

With many of its air­line cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers at the air show, Boe­ing re­peat­edly in­sisted it is fo­cus­ing on get­ting the Max re-cer­ti­fied and speed­ing up pro­duc­tion of the planes.

In ad­di­tion to safety con­cerns, the global eco­nomic slow­down and trade ten­sions are weigh­ing on the mood at the air show.

Boe­ing an­nounced only lack­lus­ter or­ders at the start of the show, while ri­val Air­bus an­nounced a bevy of new sales and launched a new lon­grange sin­gle-aisle jet, beat­ing Boe­ing to a mar­ket that both avi­a­tion giants pre­dict will grow.

In the big­gest new plane an­nounce­ment ex­pected at Le Bour­get, Air­bus for­mally launched its long-range A321XLR. The plane should will be ready for cus­tomers in 2023 and be able to fly up to 4,700 nau­ti­cal miles.

Chief sales­man Chris­tian Scherer wouldn’t say how much the plane would cost to de­velop.

Right af­ter the launch, the Los An­ge­les-based Air Lease Cor­po­ra­tion signed a let­ter of in­tent to buy 27 of the new Air­bus planes.

That’s a new chal­lenge for Boe­ing, which said Mon­day it is still work­ing on plans for a pos­si­ble jet in the same cat­e­gory – dubbed New Mid­size Airplane, or NMA. It would fill a gap in the Boe­ing lineup be­tween the smaller 737 and the larger 777 and 787.

The air show also hosted the kick­off of a joint Euro­pean fighter jet, and is see­ing a grow­ing fo­cus on elec­tric planes and other planet-friendly tech­nol­ogy.

MICHEL EULER AP

A Boe­ing 787-9 Dream­liner per­forms a demon­stra­tion flight at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bour­get, east of Paris, on Mon­day. The world’s avi­a­tion elite are gath­er­ing at the Paris Air Show with safety con­cerns on many minds af­ter two crashes of the pop­u­lar Boe­ing 737 Max.

MICHEL EULER AP

Boe­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Dennis Muilen­burg speaks to a crew mem­ber of a Boe­ing KC-46 tanker Mon­day at the Paris Air Show in Le Bour­get, east of Paris.

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