Boeing to slow 737 production Speed to 42 aircraft

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A 2015 file image of a Boeing 737 MAX on the final {assembly line|manufacturing plant|flow line}. (Boeing)

Boeing is slowing the production rate of its 737 program to 42 aircraft {a month|per month|monthly} as it works to get the grounded 737 MAX program back on track.

The cut in production from 52 aircraft a month currently was due to start in mid-April, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said on April 5 (US time).

“ We’ re adjusting the 737 production system temporarily to accommodate the pause in MAX deliveries, allowing us to prioritise additional resources to focus on software certification and returning the MAX to flight, ” Muilenburg said in a statement.

“ At a production rate of 42 airplanes per month, the 737 program and related production teams will maintain their current employment levels while we continue to invest in the broader {health and|health insurance and|into the} quality of our production system and supply chain.

“ We are coordinating closely with our customers as we {work through|function with|sort out} plans to mitigate {the impact|the effect} of this adjustment. We will {also work|work} directly with our suppliers {on their|on the|issues} production plans to minimize operational disruption and financial impact of the production rate change. ”

{During the|Throughout the|Through the} enforced grounding of the 737 MAX by regulators {around the world|all over the world|around the globe} following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 10, Boeing {has been|continues to be|have been} parking built, yet-to-be-delivered aircraft around its facilities in Washington State and elsewhere.

Boeing 737 MAX operators are also sending their aircraft to storage facilities, cancelling flights and adjusting heir schedules {while the|as the|even though the} grounding remains in place.

The airframer had 4, 636 outstanding orders for 737 MAX aircraft at February 28 2019, according to the company’ s website. There were also 87 outstanding orders for non-MAX 737s.

A file image of the Boeing 737 MAX tail and winglets. (Boeing)

A file image of the Boeing 737 MAX tail and winglets. (Boeing)

The initial findings regarding what happened on ET302 indicated similarities with what occurred in October 2018, when a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea minutes after it departed Jakarta. The preliminary report {into the|in to the|to the} Indonesian accident also noted the pilots had experienced flight control problems.

Since the Lion Air accident, attention has {focused on|centered on|dedicated to} the 737 MAX’ s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), an anti-stall feature that is not present on {older versions|revious releases} of the 737 platform.

Boeing has said previously it had been working on a software update for the MCAS {since the|because the|considering that the} Lion Air incident and expected to submit it {to the|towards the|for the} United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for review in the coming weeks.

The software update added additional layers of protection from erroneous data {out of the|out from the|from the} aircraft’ s angle of attack (AOA) sensors, Boeing said.

{The company|The organization|The business} has also acknowledged that the MCAS was activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information in both the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air tragedies.

Muilenburg said Boeing would establish a committee to review its policies and processes for the design and development its aircraft.

“ The committee will confirm the effectiveness of our policies and processes for assuring the highest level of safety {on the|around the|within the} 737-MAX program, as well as our other airplane programs, and recommend improvements to our policies and procedures, ” Muilenburg said.

The committee comprised four Boeing directors, with former US joint chiefs of staff Adm Edmund Giambastiani Jr (Ret) its chair.

The other three members were Amgen chief executive Robert Bradway, Duke Energy {chief executive|leader} Lynn Good and former Allstate Corporation chief executive Edward Liddy.

Muilenburg said the four were chosen “ because of their collective and extensive experiences {that include|including|which include} leadership roles in corporate, regulated industries and government entities where safety {and the|as well as the|plus the} safety of lives is paramount”.

“ Safety is our responsibility, and we own it, ” Muilenburg said.

“ When the MAX returns {to the|towards the|for the} skies, we’ ve promised our airline customers {and their|and the} passengers and crews {that it will|that it may|it can easily} be as safe {as any|every} airplane ever to fly. ”

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg on a 737 MAX 7 test flight for the MCAS software update. (Boeing)

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg on a 737 MAX 7 test flight {for the|for that|for your} MCAS software update. (Boeing)

{There are|You will find|You can find} separate investigations into the 737 MAX’ s certification.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has asked the department’ s inspector general to conduct a formal audit of the certification process for the MAX. The audit is an administrative action, separate from the criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice.

The US Congress {is also|can also be|is additionally} looking into the matter.

Separately, the FAA said it would set up a Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) to conduct a review of the certification of the 737 MAX’ s automated flight control system.

The review will be chaired by former United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Chris Hart and include experts from the FAA, NASA and international aviation authorities.

“ The JATR team will evaluate {aspects of|facets of|areas of} the 737 MAX automated flight control system, including its design and pilots’ interaction with the system, {to determine|to find out|to ascertain} its compliance with all applicable regulations and to identify future enhancements that might be needed, ” the FAA said {in a|inside a|within a} statement on April {2 .|second .|2 . not}