Boeing originally planned to hold a single conference call, but that was canceled, and the manufacturer is instead going to brief airlines on a regional basis early in the week of Nov. 27.
Boeing confirmed to ATW that it had rescheduled the 737/NG MAX fleetwide operator calls “to allow for more attendance, more time for Q&A and to accommodate different time zones.”
A spokesperson added that the meetings would be hosted by Boeing field service representatives.
“Safety is a core value at Boeing, and always will be. We have complete confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. Boeing is in constant communication with regulators and our customers,” the company said.
Boeing is under increasing pressure to clarify a feature that was introduced on the MAX family of aircraft called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS). The system can automatically change pitch in manual flight mode and is designed to help mitigate flight-control issues that the model's new heavier, larger engines and related design changes introduced. MCAS relies on certain parameters to determine when it is needed and is meant to work in the background. But Boeing says it recently learned that erroneous data from one sensor—such as an angle-of-attack indicator—can cause MCAS to move the stabilizer and push the aircraft’s nose down when it is not needed.
A Boeing bulletin on the system linked the issue to the investigation into the Oct. 29 crash of Lion Air flight JT610, a MAX 8, though the bulletin did not say MCAS played any role in the accident sequence. Boeing’s bulletins and information on MCAS emerged after the crash.
Since the crash, in which all 189 people onboard were killed after the aircraft dived suddenly into the sea soon after takeoff, there has been growing scrutiny of the MAX and how much information on MCAS was given—and when—to operators and pilots. The pilot unions of some major airlines that operate the MAX, including American Airlines, say they were not informed about the system.
Boeing CEO and president Dennis Muilenburg, in an internal memo to employees, denied that aircraft functionality information was intentionally withheld from customers.
Boeing’s share price fell sharply this week, reaching a one-year low Nov. 20, although it rebounded a little Nov. 21.
(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)