The CEO of Boeing has admitted faulty anti-stall software on its 737 MAX passenger jets led to two deadly crashes in recent months, saying the company is “sorry for the pain these accidents have caused worldwide.”
In response to a preliminary report from the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), which suggests 157 passengers and crew of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 died last month after systems aboard the plane caused it to nosedive, Dennis Muilenburg said the manufacturer was to blame.
Referencing Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed into the Java Sea under similar circumstances last October, Muilenberg said “it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information.”
The preliminary AIB report, obtained by CNN, found the plane erroneously and automatically pointed downwards shortly after takeoff. Despite the attempts of pilots to manually correct the plane’s angle, it crashed just six minutes after departing Addis Abada airport.
In a statement, Boeing said it is still working on a software fix to ensure a similar crash never occurs again.
“To ensure unintended MCAS activation will not occur again, Boeing has developed and is planning to release a software update to MCAS and an associated comprehensive pilot training and supplementary education program for the 737 MAX,” the manufacturer said.
“Together, we’ll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead,” Muilenberg added.
All 737 MAX aircraft worldwide have been grounded for nearly three weeks over safety fears. 400 of the aircraft have been shipped to airlines worldwide, while Boeing has received orders for over 5,000 more.
The full AIB report will be released in the coming months.