Boeing expresses regret over ex-pilot’s messages on 737 MAX software


The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 14, 2018. Picture taken August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

(Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) said on Sunday that it regrets and understands concerns raised by the release of a former Boeing test pilot’s internal instant messages noting erratic software behavior two years before deadly crashes of its 737 MAX jet.

The world’s largest planemaker, plunged into a fresh crisis over the safety of the banned 737 MAX, also said it was investigating the “circumstances of this exchange” and regretted the difficulties that the release of messages presented for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA on Friday ordered Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg to give an “immediate” explanation for the delay in turning over the “concerning” document, which Boeing discovered some months ago.

Reuters reported on Friday that Boeing turned over instant messages from November 2016 between two employees that suggest the airplane maker may have misled the Federal Aviation Administration about a key safety system on the grounded 737 MAX.

“We understand entirely the scrutiny this matter is receiving, and are committed to working with investigative authorities and the U.S. Congress as they continue their investigations,” Boeing said in its statement on Sunday.

The statement comes as Boeing’s board of directors and top executives from its airplanes division and supply chain met in San Antonio, Texas for previously scheduled meetings on Sunday and Monday.

The meeting comes as pressure mounts on Chicago-based company not only from investigations into the 737 MAX following the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people, but also from the financial burden caused by the jet’s safety ban and continued high production.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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