Boeing will provide airlines that have bought the 737 MAX with free software upgrades, the US aircraft maker said on Monday, as it tries to cope with the fallout from two deadly crashes.
The company has begun briefing airlines on software and training updates for the MAX, with more than 200 global airline pilots, technical experts and regulators due in Renton, Washington this week, Reuters reports.
The sessions follow a briefing with carriers including three US airlines on Saturday, part of Boeing’s effort “to communicate with all current, and many future, MAX customers and operators,” a Boeing spokeswoman was quoted as saying.
Boeing’s software fix for the grounded 737 MAX will prevent repeated operation of an anti-stall system at the center of safety concerns, and deactivate it altogether if two sensors disagree widely, according to Reuters sources.
The system ignited a debate over the proper balance between man and machine in piloting the latest version of the 50-year-old 737.
Any fixes to the MAX software, the focus of investigations in the two crashes that have prompted worldwide groundings of the aircraft, must still get approval from governments around the world.
The US Transportation Department said Monday it is forming an outside panel to review the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft certification program amid growing concerns after the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes, including one involving an Ethiopian Airlines plane earlier this month.
The causes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airline crashes are still unknown.
Ethiopian Airlines told Reuters it expects a preliminary crash report this week or next on its March 10 accident that killed 157 people.
The crash of an Indonesian Lion Air flight last October killed 189 people and first brought the safety of the 737 MAX into focus.
Ethiopian and French investigators have pointed to “clear similarities” between the two crashes, putting pressure on Boeing and US. regulators to come up with an adequate fix.
No direct link has been proven between the crashes but attention has focused on whether pilots had the correct information about the “angle of attack” at which the wing slices through the air.
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