In a video posted online and a statement made available to CherryAfrica, Mr. Dennis A. Muilenburg, The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Boeing Company apologized to the families of the victims who lost their lives in the Lion Air Flight 610 and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. In his
apology, Mr. Muilenburg also promised that his company would put in the hours safety, Mr. Muilenburg also emphasized that the safety of the people who work at Boeing has always been a priority.
“Internally, we’ve reduced workplace injuries by roughly 40 percent while production has increased by 25 percent through 2018 since launching our company- wide safety initiative in 2013.” He says. After the Ethiopian accident, Airlines around the world responded by grounding their own fleets, while Aviation
regulators including China and the EU responded by Banning the 737 Max from their Airspace.
In response to Airlines around the world grounding the world’s fastest-selling Aero plane, Boeing and its engineers went to work. According to Mr. Muilenburg, Boeing worked with the US Federal Aviation Administration to ensure such accidents never happens again. ‘’From the days immediately following the
Lion Air accident, our top engineers and technical experts have been working tirelessly in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration and our customers to finalize and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like these never happen again’’ He said. The update according to Mr.
Muilenburg, will prevent erroneous angle of attack sensor readings from triggering the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, something that initial investigation reports indicate occurred in both MAX accidents, as one link in a longer chain of events.
‘We know we can break this link in the chain. It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk.’ He adds. Boeing has also been testing its software update internally and with some of the Airlines that had already acquired the 737 Max.
‘Overall, our talented test pilots have made 146 737 MAX flights totaling roughly 246 hours of air time with the updated software, and nearly 90 percent of our 50-plus MAX operators around the globe have experienced that software update themselves during one of our simulator sessions’’ He says.
According to Boeing, when the certified software update implemented, the 737 MAX will be one of the safest aero planes ever to fly. The Acting head of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Mr. Daniel Elwell said the FAA expects to receive a Boeing software update and pilot training plan to fix the problem “in the next week or so.” The FAA has also scheduled a May 23 meeting with its worldwide counterparts.
Experts have been worried that the two accidents that dented the company’s record as the Gold standard in Aviation safety may have everlasting damage considering the fact that almost 80% of the Airlines that fly or ordered the Boeing 737 Max are outside the United States of America.
The trust has also fallen for the US Federal Aviation Administration with a Department of Transport Inspector General Mr. Calvin Scovel telling a Senate hearing that “Clearly confidence in the FAA as the gold standard in aviation safety has been shaken, “But the company may have got itself another chance with its response to the two accidents, spending over 1 billion dollars, to ensure that such accidents never happen again.
Airlines were listening. Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam recently told America’s NBC Network that he still has confidence in Boeing, and pointed to his company’s 60-year-old relationship with the Aeroplane Manufacturer. “We still have very strong confidence in Boeing, but we want them to do the right thing without rushing to make sure this aeroplane is safe and clear confidence in all of us before it returns back to air.” He added. The company currently has pending orders for 63 more airplanes from Boeing, 29 of which are Boeing 737 Max 8s.
In Nigeria, Air Peace which had last year ordered 10 Boeing 737 Max for its operations has maintained its order, with the Chairman and CEO of the Airline, Mr. Allen Onyema told the Punch Nigeria website, that none of the airlines that had ordered the aircraft had cancelled their orders but rather, they were all
waiting for the investigation and action that would be taken by Boeing. He, however, added that like many other countries, Nigeria had banned the aircraft in its airspace. Mr. Onyema said, “Air Peace does not have the aircraft in its fleet, so I wonder why Nigerians are attacking the airline, while nobody had
attacked the carriers that have the aircraft and are operating the equipment before the accidents.” He stated that the aircraft were scheduled to arrive in Nigeria in 2023.
In Kenya, the Kenya Airways CEO Mr says they will move forward with the decision to purchase of 10 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in a move to bolster its operations and cut costs. Other African Airlines that have orders for Boeing 737 Max 8 include;
• South Africa’s Comair, which operates a British Airways franchise and a low-cost carrier service, and has a pending order for 8 Aircraft.
• Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc which has a pending order for 4 Air Craft.
• Mauritania Airlines, which was the first in Africa to receive the Max 8 model of the 737, in 201.
Boeing is still working on confidence building with her clients, and with an eye on these clients, Mr. Muilenburg reminded the public in his news release, about the importance Boeing attaches to safety.
‘There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our airline customers and their passengers. Every day, 5.3 million people fly safely on Boeing aeroplanes,’ he also added that ‘more than 2,900 737 aeroplanes on average are in the air with nearly half a million people on board at any given time, and
one 737 takes off or lands around the world every oneand-a-half seconds’.
As part of its confidence building, Boeing has also taken steps to invest in Pilot training, and according to Mr. Muilenburg, the industry will need 790,000 new civil aviation pilots and 754,000 new maintenance technicians to fly and maintain the world fleet safely over the next 20 years.
“Meeting this significant demand requires ongoing cross-industry collaboration among operators, equipment manufacturers, governments and educators” He says. “Boeing has an important role to play in advancing training efforts that support safe operations, and we’re committed to going above and beyond,” he adds.
To ensure that this happens, Mr Muilenburg announcement a 3 million dollar grant to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to help students learn with greater efficiency and perform more effectively once on the job. “This is just the beginning,” he says.
ABOUT THE 737 MAX
The Boeing 737 Max is the latest version of Boeing’s 737 Aeroplane, a plane that has been flying since the 60s. There are four kinds of Maxes in the fleet, numbered 7, 8, 9 and 10. The 8 series, which was involved in the crash in Indonesia, has been flying the longest; the first one entered service in May of
2017. Max 9s are also now flying passengers, but the 7s and 10s are still in development phases.
There are over 5000 orders for the single-aisle workhorse plane. It is mostly used for short- and medium- distance flights, this is because it is more fuel efficient and has a longer range than earlier versions of the 737.
The Other thing that makes the 737 Max popular, is the fact that pilots who have been flying Boeing’s 737 Aeroplanes do not need to train for long in order to transition to the 737.
This is the perfect Aircraft for African countries that are working on reviving their National Airlines, and because of the Nature of African Airspace where 54 countries; most of which are an average of 2 to 8 hours apart, need agreements in order to fly over eachothers’ Airsspace, the workhorse plane will play a
key role in the operations of any Airline that wants to be around when the African Union’s open skies policy is finally operationalised.