Boeing says 'sorry' for Max crashes, seeks renewed trust

Cheryl Sanders
June 18, 2019

The worldwide grounding in March of Boeing's fast-selling aircraft followed a crash in Indonesia and another in Ethiopia that triggered one of the worst crises in the company's more than 100-year history.

The Max crashes, a slowing global economy, and damage from tariffs and trade fights threaten to cloud the mood at the Paris Air Show.

"The European planemaker will announce close to 200 orders for the new model - the A321XLR - over the week, " sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Muilenburg acknowledged on Sunday the firm made a "mistake" in how it handled the implementation of a key safety alert that contributed to the crashes.

Airbus announced several orders as the air show kicked off on Monday (Tuesday NZT), while Boeing had an anemic day as it works to win back trust from customers.

Boeing suffered a fresh setback on the opening of the Paris Airshow on Monday as its engine supplier announced a delay for the US planemaker's all-new 777X jet while Airbus launched a rival plane aimed at the middle of the market.

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

Mr Muilenburg expressed confidence that the Boeing 737 MAX would be cleared to fly again later this year by USA and all other global regulators. "It is a pivotal moment for all of us", he said.

Whether Boeing moves forward with the new mid-sized plane is expected to reshape competition with Airbus, which dominates the top end of the medium-haul sector.

The technical changes include: the new optimized permanent Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for more fuel volume; a modified landing gear for an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 101 metric tons; and an optimized wing trailing-edge flap configuration to preserve the same take-off performance and engine thrust requirements as the current A321neo.

"It does provide a very effective airplane for numerous same routes as the NMA, and it does so many years earlier", Air Lease CEO John Plueger said of the new Airbus jet.

Boeing learned of the likely light malfunction in 2017, but it did not share that information with regulators until the Lion Air crash in October.

Boeing commercial airplanes boss Kevin McAllister said it was premature to predict any delays to the 777X program. "And it's a time for us to make sure accidents like this never happen again".

The problem in this case is flight control software for the newest version of Boeing's venerable narrow-body jet.

Boeing expects the world's airlines will need 44,000 planes within 20 years, up from a previous forecast of 43,000 planes.

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