PARIS (AP) – The chief executive of Boeing said the company made a “mistake” in handling a problematic cockpit warning system in its 737 Max jets before two crashes of the top-selling plane killed 346 people, and he promised transparency as the U.S. aircraft maker tries to get the grounded model back in flight.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told reporters in Paris that Boeing’s communication with regulators, customers and the public “was not consistent. And that’s unacceptable.”
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has faulted Boeing for not telling regulators for more than year that a safety indicator in the Max cockpit didn’t work.
Pilots are angry the company didn’t tell them about the new software that’s been implicated in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
“We clearly had a mistake in the implementation of the alert,” Muilenburg said.
He expressed confidence that the Boeing 737 Max would be cleared to fly again later this year. The model has been grounded worldwide for three months, and regulators need to approve Boeing’s long-awaited fix to the software.
Muilenburg called the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets a “defining moment” for Boeing, but said he thinks the result will be a “better and stronger company.”
Speaking ahead of the Paris Air Show, Muilenburg said Boeing is facing the event with “humility” and focused on rebuilding trust.
He forecast a limited number of orders at the Paris show, the first major air show since the crashes, but said it was important to attend to talk to customers and others in the industry.
Muilenburg also announced that Boeing is raising its long-term forecast for global plane demand, notably amid sustained growth in Asia.