Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg replaced as board chair

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg replaced as board chair

The new report echoed AFP reporting showing company officials and the FAA knew about the issues with the flight handling system, but the United States regulators deferred to Boeing and approved the MAX without independently studying or testing the flight system.

Boeing Co said on Friday it was separating the roles of chairman and chief executive officer to allow CEO Dennis Muilenburg to focus full time on running the US plane maker as it works to return its 737 MAX jet to service.

"With adequate FAA engagement and oversight, the extent of delegation does not in itself compromise safety", states the report, which is scheduled to be released officially later today (Oct. 11).

After three months of being grounded following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, the 737 Max may be up for a rebranding.

There were "an inadequate number of FAA specialists" assigned to the 737 Max's new design and they "had inadequate awareness" of the system implicated in the two crashes, the report said.

The move is an important C-suite reshuffling for Boeing in the run-up to the anticipated re-certification of the Max, as the company seeks to convince global regulators, pilots and fliers that it is committed to product safety.

During the certification process, Boeing changed the design of MCAS, making it more powerful, but key people at the FAA were not always told.

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Boeing pledged to work with the FAA on the recommendations.

The report found that Boeing removed mention of MCAS from a draft of its pilot manual, meaning some FAA officials were not entirely aware of MCAS and were 'not in a position to adequately assess training needs'. If the AOA sensors differ by 5.5 degrees or more then MCAS can not operate. Additionally, the report found evidence of "undue pressure" on employees, possibly "attributed to conflicting priorities and an environment that does not support FAA requirements".

Boeing said in a statement it will work with the FAA to review the panel's recommendations and that the company is working to "continuously improve the process and approach used to validate and certify airplanes going forward".

Muilenburg is set to testify before a U.S. House panel on October 30.

The group includes technical experts from the FAA who were not involved in the certification of the 737 Max and from NASA, as well as representatives from the civil aviation authorities in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

The aviation panel report also said the FAA must ensure manufacturers "provide a full list of all aircraft proposed changes (no matter how trivial)".

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