Boeing plans to release software update, pilot training for 737 MAX soon

Boeing announced on Tuesday that it would soon release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 MAX that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident in October last year.

"We've been working in full cooperation with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board on all issues relating to both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian Airlines accidents since the Lion Air accident occurred in October last year," Dennis Muilenburg, chair, president and CEO of Boeing, said in a statement.

"Based on facts from the Lion Air Flight 610 accident, and emerging data as it becomes available from the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident, we're taking actions to fully ensure the safety of the 737 MAX. "We also understand and regret the challenges for our customers and the flying public caused by the fleet's grounding."

'We are united with customers'

He said work was progressing thoroughly and rapidly to learn more about the Ethiopian Airlines accident and understand the information from the airplane's cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

"Our team is on-site with investigators to support the investigation and provide technical expertise. The Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau will determine when and how it's appropriate to release additional details," said Muilenburg.
 
"We're united with our airline customers, international regulators and government authorities in our efforts to support the most recent investigation, understand the facts of what happened and help prevent future tragedies."

Fin24 reported earlier that the sovereignty, integrity and role of civil aviation regulators have become the focus of debate in aviation circles since the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8. 

The SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), like the US FAA, did not order the grounding of this aircraft model as a precaution immediately after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

It was only days later that US President Donald Trump announced the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8s. This step, supported by the manufacturer Boeing, effectively grounded all 371 of these planes in operation around the world. 

In South Africa, meanwhile, there is still not an official airworthiness directive on the SACAA website to make it mandatory to ground all MAX 8s.

Approached for comment, SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said in the authority's view it was not necessary to issue one in SA, as only Comair had a MAX 8 that was flying in and out of SA in service, and this aircraft had been voluntarily grounded.

Ledwaba emphasised that immediately after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, SACAA started its engagements with Comair and Boeing.

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