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Boeing president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg told a crowd of reporters on Sunday that a mistake was made by the company in handling communication around a malfunctioning warning light in the cockpit of the company’s 737 MAX.
His comment came on the eve of the Paris Air Show, which The New York Times calls, “one of the most important sales events for aircraft manufacturers around the world.” The MAX was anticipated to be a major topic of discussion following the worldwide grounding of the aircraft after two planes crashed in less than six months, killing all on board.
Boeing engineers found that the warning light in question would not work unless a plane was equipped with an additional indicator in the cockpit — optional for airlines to purchase at an additional cost. The engineers’ findings were conveyed to the airlines almost a year later. The two airlines involved in the deadly crashes did not have the indicators needed for the alert to function properly.
Of this failed communication between Boeing and the airlines, Muilenburg said, “We clearly had a mistake in the implementation of the alert.”
Boeing said in May that it had completed the development of a software update for its imperiled 737 MAX jets, but the aircraft is yet to return to service. In the meantime, airlines have been forced to push back their 737 MAX cancellation schedules into September as Boeing works to address the issue during the busiest summer travel season on record.
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