POST Online Media Lite Edition


Boeing CEO says 737 Max was safe, Southwest and FAA unaware safety alert was off

Christian Fernsby |
Boeing has once again been put in the hot seat after it was revealed that both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Southwest Airlines were not informed before the Lion Air crash that the 737 Max models' safety feature was turned off.

Article continues below

In a statement sent to CNBC, Southwest said, "Upon delivery (prior to the Lion Air event), the AOA Disagree lights were depicted to us by Boeing as operable on all MAX aircraft, regardless of the selection of optional AOA Indicators on the Primary Flight Display (PFD)."

Southwest further explained that Boeing notified the airlines that the AOA Disagree Lights or the safety alert feature on the 737 Max jets were turned off after the Lion Air jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia in October.

Likewise, industry officials and U.S. government sources told The Wall Street Journal that FAA supervisors and safety inspectors did not know about the issue. The outlet further reported that the FAA mulled whether or not Southwest's entire Max fleet should be grounded until pilots received additional training.

In a tense news conference, his first since two deadly crashes of 737 MAX airplanes, Boeing chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced sharp questioning but refused to admit flaws in the design of the airplane’s systems.

“We have gone back and confirmed again, as we do the safety analysis, the engineering analysis, that we followed exactly the steps in our design and certification processes that consistently produce safe airplanes,” he said. “It was designed per our standards. It was certified per our standards.”

Muilenburg would not concede that there was anything wrong with the original MCAS design, saying only that the system is being “improved” with the software redesign.

What to read next

Boeing's new 737 MAX 7 aircraft completes successful maiden flight
Boeing completes largest order for single-aisle jets in Middle East
Alaska Airlines 'Proudly All Boeing' for $5 billion