ADDIS ABEBA – Boeing executive says ‘sorry’ to airlines and families of victims of 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Kevin McAllister, CEO of Boeing’s commercial aircraft, told reporters at the show on Monday that “we are very sorry for the loss of lives” in the two crashes.
A Lion Air crash in October in Indonesia claimed 189 lives, and an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March in Africa killed 157.
McAllister also said, “I’m sorry for the disruption” to airlines from the subsequent grounding of all Max planes worldwide, and to their passengers.
He stressed that the company is working hard to learn from what went wrong but wouldn’t say when the plane could fly again, according to the Associated Press.
Angle-measuring sensors in both planes malfunctioned, alerting anti-stall software to push the noses of the planes down.
The pilots were unable to take back control of the planes. The preliminary investigation into the crash in Ethiopia has absolved the pilot of error.
The U.S. congressman, Sam Graves on May 16, told U.S. lawmakers to insist pilot error was a factor in both crashes.
“Pilots trained in the United States would have successfully been able to handle this situation,” was his reasoning.
That has forced Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, to come out and defend the airlines and the crew that died in the crash.
He told the BBC: “The whole world knows the standards of Ethiopian Airlines and they know what happened.
“That’s why we have not seen any significant impact on our business. Our traffic crew by 7 percent in March [the month of the crash], by another 10 per cent in April, the same in May. Our flights are full.
“Why on earth have they grounded 380 aircraft all over the world? The facts speak to themselves.”
Tewolde repeatedly claims that it takes a lot of convincing for the airlines to return the Max airplanes, which are grounded since March, to service.