Boeing’s chief executive says he’s so confident in a proposed solution to an issue linked to two fatal crashes of the aerospace giant’s grounded 737 Max that he’d trust the jet with the lives of his own family.
In an interview with CBS News that aired Wednesday, Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged the crashes damaged the public’s trust in the aircraft maker but insisted the planes are safe. (CBS is the parent company of Techhnews.)
When asked whether he would put his own family on one of the grounded jets, he replied: “Without any hesitation. Absolutely.”
Boeing is eager to assure airlines and their passengers that its best-selling airplane is safe. The aircraft maker proposed an update in March to a flight control system that’s at the center of investigations into crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people.
Though the official causes of both accidents haven’t been determined, investigators have found clear similarities. Under scrutiny is a flight control system called MCAS (for Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) that pushes the 737 Max’s nose down when it determines that it’s too high. Preliminary data from both crashes shows that flight crews struggled to take control as the airplanes continually dove just after takeoff.
Muilenburg also offered a personal apology to the families of those who died in the crashes.
“We are sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents and that will never change,” he said. “That will always be with us. I can tell you it affects me directly as a leader of this company. It’s very difficult.”
Despite the loss of life and the damage to the company’s reputation, Muilenburg said he never considered resigning.
“It’s important that I continue to lead the company, and the fact that lives depend on the work we do, whether it’s people flying on our commercial airplanes or military men and women around the world who use our defense products, that is a worthy mission,” he said.
There’s no timetable for the grounded jet’s return to flight, the Federal Aviation Administration has said.