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737 Max Updates and Cancellations


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Always stop watching when they get fundamental facts wrong.  At 2:10, start talking about bigger engines making the nose point up and about the MCAS being needed to counteract this.  Wrong, or at best, a gross simplification.    Yes, you could argue that the finer points are not needed for whatever the intended audience is.  This may be true but if the finer points aren't being covered in this part of the video how do I know that the finer points in other parts of the discussion are also not being covered?

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Boeing eyes record production of Max jets by next June after groundings, sources say


  • Calgary Herald
  • 23 Aug 2019
img?regionKey=LnmWTFoVLcI8ww1jreRxyQ%3d%3dLINDSEY WASSON/REUTERS FILES Boeing was said to have told suppliersjuly 30 that its plans to ramp up production next year would depend upon regulators clearing the grounded 737s to fly after two fatal crashes. It mainly builds its latest version of its cash-cow planes at its Seattle-area factory.

SEATTLE Boeing Co has told suppliers it will resume production of its best-selling 737 jets at a rate of 52 aircraft per month in February 2020, then stepping up to a record 57 jets monthly in June, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Boeing told more than 100 suppliers during at least one web meeting July 30 that the new schedule depended upon regulators approving the 737 Max to fly again commercially in the fourth quarter, one of the people said.

Boeing mainly builds the latest version of its cash-cow single-aisle family at its Seattle-area factory, but also builds a small number of earlier or military variants of the 737.

One of the people expressed skepticism over the timing given the intense scrutiny from regulators that grounded the 737 Max after deadly crashes killed nearly 350 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia in the span of five months.

There is no guarantee when regulators will clear the 737 Max to fly again, and Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg told analysts last month that Boeing would consider further 737 output cuts or potentially suspending production if the grounding dragged on.

In April, Boeing cut the number of 737s it produces monthly to 42 from 52 after halting deliveries to airline customers, cutting off a key source of cash and hitting margins.

Because the grounding happened when Boeing was going up towards record production levels, and each move of the sprawling supply chain has to be planned far in advance, Boeing and its suppliers are now caught between two conflicting pressures: preparing to get back on the upward path as soon as the plane is flying but also ratcheting downwards if regulators stall and the grounding continues for longer than expected.

Boeing has been tight-lipped about its production plans.

Muilenburg told analysts last month that Boeing expects to be able to maintain its current monthly production rate of 42 aircraft, “followed by incremental rate increases that would bring our production rate to 57 during 2020.”

Two persons familiar with Boeing’s production plans, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Boeing told suppliers it will increase production from 42 to 47 single-aisle aircraft per month in October, jibing with its guidance to investors on when it expects to win regulatory approval. It would then increase from 47 aircraft to the pre-crash rate of 52 aircraft per month in February 2020, the people, and a third person familiar with the plans, said.

Boeing then would hit a record stride of 57 single-aisle jets per month in June 2020, two of the people said.

In response to questions from Reuters, Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said Boeing updated the 737 master production schedule to reflect timing assumptions for the 737 Max return to service plan.

“While the assumption reflects Boeing’s best estimate at this time, the actual timing of return to service will be determined by the FAA and other global aviation regulatory authorities and could differ from this assumption and estimate.”

The current production plan represents a new delay as Boeing wrestles with the logistics of aligning a sprawling global supply chain with its high-volume assembly line in Renton, Wash.

Rate changes by major manufacturers are usually incremental and communicated months or even years in advance, but the unprecedented challenge to the 737 program has forced Boeing to scramble, one of the people said. Boeing is eager to increase production because the higher rate means it can deliver more planes and get more cash. A higher rate also means Boeing pays less for parts.

Boeing organized at least one web meeting on July 30 to inform suppliers that the original rate ramp plan — which Boeing decided in April would begin in August — was being delayed by three months, according to electronic materials described to Reuters by a person who attended. Different suppliers were shipping at different “rate profiles” and Boeing wanted to try to “harmonize the supply chain,” the person added.

Shares of Boeing, the largest U.S. exporter with about 145,000 employees, closed up more than four per cent at US$354.41 in New York trading.

On Thursday, Investor’s Business Daily website reported Boeing had landed a contract worth up to US$999 million to produce wing sets for the A-10 Thunderbolt II, used by the U.S. Air Force. The deal would help soften the blow after the Pentagon cancelled Boeing’s contract to produce a “kill vehicle” to shoot down missiles from North Korea or Iran.

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Boeing 737 Max’s Certification Flight Likely to Occur in October

‎Yesterday, ‎August ‎23, ‎2019, ‏‎6:58:02 PM | Canadian Aviation News

News provided by BNNBloomberg.ca – link to full story and updates

23 August 2019 by Julie Johnsson, Alan Levin and Richard Weiss, Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) — The Federal Aviation Administration is likely to conduct its certification flight for Boeing Co.’s 737 Max in October, a key milestone toward returning the grounded jetliner to the skies, said people briefed on the matter.

That timing would be broadly consistent with Boeing’s estimate that the Max will return to service early in the fourth quarter, but may push the submission of a final certification package slightly beyond September, as the company previously estimated.

The U.S. planemaker is testing changes to the flight-control software architecture of its best-selling jetliner, which suffered two fatal crashes in a five-month span. Boeing engineers have almost worked their way through hundreds of queries fielded by the FAA from colleagues around the world, with few new concerns being raised at this point in the process, the people said.

The Chicago-based company is also briefing customers on its plans for unwinding an unprecedented global grounding that has already surpassed five months, with about 600 planes temporarily mothballed.

“We continue to support the FAA and global regulators on the safe return of the Max to service,” Boeing said in a statement.

The FAA is focused on ensuring that the revamped 737 Max systems meet safety requirements, and doesn’t have a timeline for returning the plane to service, according to a statement by the agency. FAA employees have already spent 110,000 hours working on the project, it said.

‘All Aspects’

“The FAA’s certification of the Boeing 737 Max is the subject of several independent reviews and investigations that will examine all aspects of the five-year effort,” the agency said. “While the agency’s certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs, we welcome the scrutiny from these experts and look forward to their findings.”

There are still numerous tasks to be accomplished before Boeing can complete its submission to recertify the plane, said another person familiar with the process. The person wasn’t aware of a specific projection that the FAA test flight would occur in October, but said it was a possibility.

A certification flight with FAA test pilots is one of the final steps that must be conducted before Boeing’s submission is finalized, and based on the timing, the final paperwork may not be completed until the fourth quarter.

If the plane behaves as expected, the results become part of the package for certification. Even though FAA engineers have worked closely with Boeing for months, the agency must perform a series of checks after the submission is made before granting approval.

Another step in the process is a review by the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board, which must recommend training requirements for the plane. In April, it made a preliminary conclusion that pilots wouldn’t need simulator training before flights resume. But the body hasn’t issued its final conclusions.

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Rostec unit sues Boeing alleging 737 Max fraud

  • 29 August, 2019
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: Tom Risen
  • Washington DC

Russian aircraft lessor Avia Capital Services is suing Boeing for at least $115 million, alleging that the airframer deceptively sold 737 Max aircraft on the premise that the aircraft were properly certificated, and that pilots would not need months of additional training.

Avia, a subsidiary of Russian aerospace firm Rostec, filed the lawsuit on 26 August in Cook County, Illinois, which is the jurisdiction of Boeing's Chicago headquarters. The lessor gave Boeing a deposit of $40 million as part of its order for 35 737 Max 8s. Boeing has delayed delivery of those aircraft until at least 2022 amid a worldwide grounding, while damaged passenger confidence in Max aircraft has dramatically reduced their value against what Avia anticipated at the time of purchase.

Avia has suffered an estimated $75 million in lost profit due to these delays and diminished prospects for leasing the aircraft, says Steven Marks, an aviation attorney at law firm Podhurst Orseck, which is representing the lessor.

The lawsuit alleges that the two fatal crashes of Max aircraft occurred "due to the negligent actions and decisions of Boeing in not only designing an aircraft that was defective, but in also withholding critical information from the [US Federal Aviation Administration] during the certification process".

"Avia has been damaged due to Boeing’s actions and asserts claims against Boeing for fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing," the lawsuit states.

Boeing declined to comment on the matter. The airframer's revenue for the second quarter ending in June sank 35% year-on-year to $15.8 billion, resulting in a net loss of $2.9 billion following lost profit and after-tax charges to cover future costs of compensating 737 Max customers.

Marks says Boeing avoided going through a new type certificate process for the 737 Max so that it could sell more aircraft on the premise that pilots would not need to be paid months of salary for mandatory simulator training.

"I think we can prove intentional misrepresentations made to induce customers into purchasing the aircraft," he says, expecting that the lawsuit could go to trial by August 2020.

The standard for punitive damages claims in Illinois is "gross negligence", Marks says, adding that if numerous examples can be found, and the case goes before a jury, Boeing could be made to pay punitive damages in addition to the $115 million sought by the lawsuit.

Regulators worldwide grounded 737 Max aircraft in March following the deaths of 346 people in two fatal crashes. Most operators have removed the type from their schedules for the rest of the year as the FAA and Boeing continue to test safety modifications.

Several non-US companies have expressed interest in joining Avia's lawsuit to seek damages for their lost profit amid capacity absence and a lack of customer confidence in those aircraft, Marks says.

"We don't know what other latest inherent flaws exist because it hasn’t gone through a more robust certification process," Marks says. "I think the only thing that Boeing can do is start from scratch, bite the bullet and go through a full recertification process."

Marks is also representing 30 families of victims who died during the two fatal Max crashes that are seeking wrongful death damages from Boeing.

Investigations into the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and Lion Air flight 610 remain ongoing, but evidence indicates automated flight control software created by Boeing automatically trimmed the aircraft into dives. The software was designed to make the Max fly like the earlier-generation 737NG.

In addition to making false representation during sales, Avia states in its lawsuit that after the Lion Air crash in October 2018 Boeing "downplayed and misrepresented" the significance of the Max flight control software, known as the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS). Because of this Avia continued to make payments to the airframer for its 737 Max aircraft.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash occurred in March, which spurred regulators around the world to progressively ground the aircraft.

The US House and Senate are investigating whether the FAA allowed Boeing to rush the 737 Max through certification. Marks alleges that the airframer intentionally withheld and even suppressed information about the aircraft to avoid going through a more expensive and rigorous type certification process.

Boeing chairman Dennis Muilenburg told investors on 7 August that the airframer is "working toward a return to service of the Max in the fourth quarter".

Boeing has been coordinating with the FAA on software modifications for the MCAS. The airframer had to complete additional modifications of Max aircraft after FAA pilots in June uncovered a data processing issue that affected their ability to counteract a runaway stabiliser trim, the procedure by which pilots have been instructed to address the MCAS error that contributed to two fatal crashes.

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FAA panel reviewing 737 MAX certification will take additional time

Published Fri, Aug 30 2019 3:19 PM EDT
Key Points
  • The Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday a blue-ribbon panel of experts around the world will need a few more weeks to finish its review into the Boeing 737 MAX certification.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday a blue-ribbon panel of experts around the world will need a few more weeks to finish its review into the Boeing 737 MAX certification.

The team, which is reviewing the approval of the now grounded jet involved in two fatal crashes since October, is taking additional time to finish documenting its work and the FAA said it expects its recommendations in the coming weeks.

Boeing has said it hopes to complete a key certification test flight in the “September time frame.”

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The 737 platform has reached the end of its usefulness.  The design does not all ow for the proper use of todays high bypass engines.  Unless you put it on stilts the limit has been reached.  Way overdue for a clean sheet single aisle aircraft.

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EASA: FAA ‘Methodologies Need To Be Changed’
Sep 3, 2019 Jens Flottau | Aviation Daily

EASA executive director Patrick Ky

FRANKFURT—EASA executive director Patrick Ky said there is “still a lot of work to be performed” before Europe’s aviation safety authority will allow the Boeing 737 MAX to return to flight and criticized the way the FAA has allowed Boeing to “auto-certify” the aircraft.

Ky told the European Parliament’s transport committee Sept. 3 that EASA has decided to recertify parts of the MAX’s flight control systems itself, oversight of which had been transferred to the FAA previously. “A lot of work is being done,” Ky said. EASA has been in close coordination with Boeing and the FAA for months. At this point the European agency is “happy” with some aspects of Boeing’s answers to its requests while there are others that “we need to discuss some more” and some issues still require more work.

In particular, EASA wants to perform an in-depth human factor evaluation of the MAX systems, the updated maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), cockpit alarms and functionality before it allows to the aircraft to fly in European airspace again.

Once those checks are completed, EASA pilots will also test-fly the MAX to validate the MCAS changes. EASA pilots have participated in simulator sessions but the flight tests still need to me made.

Ky said it was “impossible” to give a time line for the return to service. “In theory, we could have different training requirements [than the FAA], although that “would not make sense” from a global point of view. He stressed that Europe needs to have “a coordinated approach” to recertifying the MAX. In March, several EU member states proactively grounded the MAX individually before EASA followed.

To Ky, the FAA “is in a very difficult situation” as a result of the MAX crisis and allegations that its oversight of Boeing was insufficient. “Authorities will want a second opinion. That is a strong change to just one year ago.”

The EASA executive director made clear that he shares the criticism of FAA, at least in parts. “Authorities are critical of delegation [of certification] from FAA to Boeing,” he said. This was the case particularly with MCAS, which “has been auto-certified by Boeing,” Ky said. “I have a lot of respect for my counterparts in the FAA, they have strong ethics, but their methodologies need to be changed,” he added.

In Ky’s view, the kind of outsourcing to industry seen in the MCAS case “would not happen in our system. We have a very structured way of delegating. We can’t check every line of computer software, that is simply impossible. But everything that is safety critical has to be seen by us.” He believes that “our approach works quite well.”

EASA has delegated a team of 20 experts including engineers, flight test engineers and flight test pilots to deal with MAX.

The agency has come up with four conditions that have to be met before the MAX can fly again in Europe. Primarily, all modifications must be approved by EASA itself. Additionally, EASA demanded a “broader review of the design of safety critical systems” of the MAX which had previously been performed by the FAA. “That was not very popular with our American colleagues,” Ky hinted. EASA also wants a “complete understanding” of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents both from a technical and operational point-of-view. Finally, the agency wants to ensure that flight crews are adequately trained.


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2 hours ago, Don Hudson said:

Additionally, EASA demanded a “broader review of the design of safety critical systems” of the MAX which had previously been performed by the FAA. “That was not very popular with our American colleagues,” Ky hinted.


Pandora's box is being opened...

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Air Canada Says Max Grounding Hit It Harder Than Other Carriers

News provided by BNN Bloomberg – link to full story and updates

4 September 2019 by Justin Bachman, Bloomberg News

An Air Canada aircraft taxis at Toronto Pearson International Airport. An Air Canada aircraft taxis at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Air Canada has been hurt more from the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max than other operators because the aircraft made up a larger portion of its total capacity, the carrier’s finance chief said Wednesday.

The grounding imposed a severe strain on the airline’s schedule, with Air Canada able to “backfill” only about half of the lost Max capacity, Chief Financial Officer Michael Rousseau said at a Cowen & Co. transportation conference.

Unlike most of Boeing’s Max customers, Air Canada has no other 737s in its fleet, leaving its 737 pilots mostly idle this year beyond training, the CFO said. The company won’t resume hiring pilots for the Max until the plane is cleared to resume service, he said.

“We have a couple hundred pilots sitting around not doing a lot,” Rousseau said.

Air Canada had two dozen 737 Max aircraft when regulators grounded the plane in March following two fatal crashes. The airline had planned to receive 12 additional Max aircraft this summer. It plans to acquire a total of 50 Max, which will replace older Airbus SE A320s.


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Former Boeing official subpoenaed in 737 MAX probe won’t turn over documents, citing Fifth Amendment protection

Sep. 6, 2019 at 7:01 pm Updated Sep. 7, 2019 at 8:37 am


Steve Miletich
Seattle Times staff reporter

A former Boeing official who played a key role in the development of the 737 MAX has refused to provide documents sought by federal prosecutors investigating two fatal crashes of the jetliner, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mark Forkner, Boeing’s chief technical pilot on the MAX project, invoked the privilege in response to a grand jury subpoena issued by U.S. Justice Department prosecutors looking into the design and certification of the plane, the person said.

Invoking the Fifth to avoid testifying, while a legal right, is sometimes interpreted as an admission of guilt. Its use to resist a subpoena for documents is less common and may only imply a dance between prosecutors and defense attorneys, legal experts say.

Forkner, now a first officer for Southwest Airlines, referred questions to his attorney when reached by phone. His attorney, David Gerger, of Houston, did not respond to inquiries.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment. Boeing also declined to comment.

Prosecutors in the Justice Department’s Washington, D.C., fraud section are conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the crashes that occurred Oct. 29 off Indonesia, and March 10 in Ethiopia, killing 346 people and leading to worldwide grounding of the plane.

Their investigation includes the role of a new flight-safety control system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which has been implicated in the crashes.

Forkner, who worked at Boeing from 2011 to 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile, was frequently anxious about the deadlines and pressures faced in the MAX program, going to some of his peers in the piloting world for help, a person who worked on the project previously told The Seattle Times, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The MCAS system, designed to move a powerful control surface at the tail to push the airplane’s nose down in certain rare situations, played a critical role in the crashes when the planes nose-dived out of the sky.

During the certification process, Forkner suggested to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that MCAS not be included in the pilot manual, according to previous Seattle Times reporting.

The FAA, after internal deliberations, agreed to keep MCAS out of the manual, reasoning that MCAS was software that operates in the background as part of the flight-control system, according to an official familiar with the discussions.

In addition, Boeing won the FAA’s approval to give pilots just an hour of training through an iPad about the differences between the MAX and the previous 737 generation. MCAS was not mentioned.

Boeing has said MCAS was only one link in a chain of events, and that MCAS was designed according to the standard procedures it has used for years.

“The 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the identical FAA requirements and processes that have governed certification of previous new airplanes and derivatives,” the company said in a previous statement.

Gerger, in an earlier interview, said, “Mark never dreamed anything like this could happen. He put safety first.”

It isn’t clear when Forkner received the subpoena or if the Justice Department, as part of the secret grand jury proceedings, has asked a judge to compel disclosure of the documents.

Also unknown is whether Forkner and the Justice Department have discussed terms under which he might surrender the documents, and whether subpoenas have been issued to other individuals for records.

While the Fifth Amendment protects people from testifying against themselves, it “usually does not apply to being required to produce documents because producing a document is not the same as being required to testify,” said University of Washington law professor Jeffrey Feldman.

But there are exceptions that allow the privilege to be asserted where “the mere act of producing the document” may be seen as an incriminating act, Feldman said.

Paul Rothstein, a Georgetown University law professor, said documents may show a person “has them, knows about them or admits they exist.”

“This information can often be somewhat incriminating of that person and thus covered by his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” Rothstein said.

Some courts have held that broad document requests require the person to “use his or her mental processes to interpret and respond to the subpoena, and the production itself could be viewed as testimonial,” said Peter Joy, a Washington University law professor.

In Forkner’s case, Feldman said, it could turn on the type of documents. “Are these the employee’s personal documents? His diary or personal emails? Or are they Boeing’s documents?”

Forkner could ask for immunity from use of the information in the documents, or prosecutors could offer it, the experts said.

“Such immunity means the revealed information cannot be used in any way in any investigation of him or any criminal prosecution of him,” Rothstein said, noting that it is not a blanket immunity from investigation or prosecution based on evidence obtained elsewhere.

It is “just an immunity from use of this particular evidence or information,” he said.

But prosecutors can independently seek other evidence, Feldman said.

He said if there is a plausible assertion of the privilege, it would “not be unusual to see the government offer” of immunity.

“It could just be the kind of waltz you often see in cases like this, by which individuals who are concerned that they may get swept up in a criminal matter try and obtain some protection and assurances to lower their risk,” Feldman said. “Or it could be much more significant both for the individual or the company.”

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Boeing Board to Call for Safety Changes After 737 Max Crashes

By David Gelles and Natalie Kitroeff

  • Sept. 15, 2019

For the past five months, a small committee of Boeing’s board has been interviewing company employees, safety experts and executives at other industrial organizations in an attempt to understand how the aerospace giant could design and build safer airplanes.

The committee is expected to deliver its findings to the full Boeing board this week, and call for several meaningful changes to the way the company is structured, according to three people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the report has not yet been submitted.

The recommendations will include that Boeing change aspects of its organizational structure, calling for the creation of new groups focused on safety and encouraging the company to consider making changes to the cockpits of future airplanes to accommodate a new generation of pilots, some of whom may have less training.

Though the committee did not investigate the two crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max jet, their findings represent the company’s most direct effort yet to reform its internal processes after the accidents, which killed 346 people.

One of the report’s most significant findings concerns the reporting structure for engineers at the company. At Boeing, top engineers report primarily to the business leaders for each airplane model, and secondarily to the company’s chief engineer.

Under this model, engineers who identify problems that might slow a jet’s development could face resistance from executives whose jobs revolve around meeting production deadlines. The committee recommends flipping the reporting lines, so that top engineers report primarily to Boeing’s chief engineer, and secondarily to business unit leaders.

The two Boeing crashes killed 346 people.

Another key recommendation calls for establishing a new safety group that will work across the company. The committee examined the process by which Boeing employees conduct certification work on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration, known as Organization Designation Authorization, as well as an internal company framework known as the Boeing Safety Management System.

Boeing has more than 100,000 employees and, like many large companies, at times struggles with information flow. In particular, there has been inadequate communication within the engineering department, and from Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, based in the Seattle area, to Boeing corporate offices in Chicago.

The new safety group will work to ensure that the company’s various efforts have adequate independence and are working together and sharing information effectively. The new group will report to senior Boeing leadership, as well as to a new permanent committee on the board focused on aerospace safety.

A third major recommendation involves how Boeing approaches the design of future airplanes. Though the Max crashes were triggered by the malfunction of a new system on the planes, there is a simmering debate concerning whether the pilots responded appropriately, and whether the Lion Air plane that crashed off Indonesia last October should have been flying at all because of maintenance problems.

Training levels can vary by country. The first officer of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed in March, was relatively inexperienced, with just over 200 hours flying 737s.

The board committee is expected to recommend that Boeing re-examine cockpit design and operation to ensure that new Boeing planes are accessible for the next generation of pilots, including those with less training.

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis A. Muilenburg, established the committee in April, calling on it to review “companywide policies and processes for the design and development of the airplanes we build.” The group included four Boeing directors familiar with complex industrial systems, as well as highly regulated industries.

Top Boeing engineers report to both the company’s chief engineer and to the business side, something an internal review is expected to recommend be changed. Credit Ruth Fremson The New York Times

Admiral Edmund Giambastiani Jr., a former nuclear submarine officer and the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the committee chairman. The other members were Lynn Good, the chief executive of Duke Energy and a board member of the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations; Edward Liddy, the former chief executive of the insurance company Allstate; and Robert Bradway, the chief executive of Amgen, a pharmaceuticals company.

To conduct its review, the committee interviewed dozens of Boeing employees about their work. The committee also hired independent safety experts who had experience with industrial accidents including the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Columbia space shuttle disaster and the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. Among the experts was Sean O’Keefe, the former NASA administrator.

Additionally, the committee consulted with officials from NASA, General Electric, Duke Energy and military leaders who had experience dealing with accidents and their aftermaths.

The Max remains grounded six months after the second crash, though the F.A.A. may allow the planes to fly again by the end of the year, according to several people familiar with the process. Some international regulators are likely to take longer, however, signaling a rift in the global aviation community.

This month, Patrick Ky, the head of the European Aviation Safety Agency, suggested that when the F.A.A. deemed the Max safe to fly again, his agency was unlikely to do so at the same time.

“The F.A.A. is in a very difficult situation,” Mr. Ky said during an appearance at European Parliament. “When they say this is good to go, it’s very likely that international authorities will want a second opinion.”

Even as the F.A.A. is working with Boeing to return the Max to service, the regulator itself is facing scrutiny. A multiagency task force reviewing the certification of the Max is also expected to submit its report this month, and is likely to recommend changes to the way the F.A.A. oversees airplane manufacturers like Boeing, according to people briefed on the effort who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the review is incomplete.

Chris Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, is leading a task force reviewing how the Max was certified. Credit Cliff Owen/Associated Press

The group, known as the Joint Authorities Technical Review, is led by Chris Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and includes representatives from NASA, the F.A.A. and international regulators. The report is expected to include about a dozen recommendations, with a focus on improving transparency in the certification process.

Frustration with Boeing is mounting on Capitol Hill. Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, said in an interview that he invited Boeing to testify at a House hearing, but the company declined.

“Next time, it won’t just be an invitation, if necessary,” Mr. DeFazio said.

Congressional investigators are combing through tens of thousands of internal Boeing documents, looking for potential flaws in the Max’s development and certification.

“We’ve got massive amounts of documents from Boeing,” Mr. DeFazio said. “But they have otherwise been not particularly cooperative.”

The F.A.A. and international regulators are similarly frustrated with Boeing, a sentiment that became apparent at a meeting last month.

In August, Boeing met with officials from the F.A.A. and other global aviation agencies to brief them on its efforts to complete fixes on the Max. Regulators asked detailed questions about adjustments to the Max’s flight control computers, which the Boeing representatives there were not prepared to answer.

Instead, the company representatives began to display a PowerPoint presentation on their efforts, according to people briefed on the meeting who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was not public.

At that point, the regulators ended the meeting. Weeks later, Boeing has still not answered all their questions.

A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 15, 2019, Section B, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Boeing Panel Is Set to Call For Reforms In Procedure. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


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How the Boeing 737 Max grounding hurts its most-loyal customer — Southwest Airlines

Published 3 hours agoUpdated 2 hours ago
Why Boeing’s problems are hurting Southwest Airlines
Key Points
  • The fallout from two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 Max planes has ensnared the manufacturer’s most-loyal customer: Southwest Airlines.
  • The carrier has canceled thousands of flights, and Southwest’s CEO has said exploring planes from other manufacturers is worth considering.

Southwest Airlines grew from a small low-cost carrier in Texas in the 1970s to the airline that transports more passengers in the U.S. than any other. The backbone of this expansion: the Boeing 737, the plane the airline has operated almost exclusively since it started flying in 1971.

Loyal as it’s been to Boeing and the 737, the fallout from two fatal crashes of a new version of the plane has prompted Southwest to mull other options for its future.


“It’s something that we’ll want to explore,” CEO Gary Kelly told analysts on an earnings call in July. Adding a new plane supplier would be highly complicated and take years, Kelly said, however. “There is no way to avoid risk with a fleet. Period,” he added.

Regulators worldwide grounded the Boeing 737 Max, a more fuel-efficient version of the workhorse jet that’s been flying since the late 1960s, in mid-March after the second of two crashes that killed 346 people.

Southwest had 34 Max planes in its fleet at the time of the grounding and was expected to receive about 40 more this year, making it the largest U.S. Max customer. The grounding has forced Southwest and other airlines that bought the Max to cancel thousands of flights and rein in their growth plans this year.

Boeing took a $5.6 billion pretax charge in the second quarter, a sum that in part will compensate its Max customers for the grounding, which is now in its seventh month.

Boeing declined to comment on negotiations with airlines but Kelly told Southwest employees last week  that negotiations are ongoing with Boeing “to reach a business settlement related to the damages that our airline has suffered as a result of the Max grounding.” Kelly said that the airline is considering sharing “proceeds as appropriate” with employees.


Boeing expects the planes to fly early in the fourth quarter, but regulators have repeatedly said they have no firm date for a resumption of flights. Southwest has removed them from its schedules until January, later than any other U.S. 737 Max customer.

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