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Boeing CEO speaks to Donald Trump, says he’s confident of 737 Max safety

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, called from Chicago and expressed to Trump his confidence in the safety of the 737 Max 8 jets.

Agencies|
Mar 13, 2019, 11.37 PM IST
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Boeing reiterated in a statement late Tuesday that it had “full confidence” in the 737 Max 8.
Washington: With more countries grounding Boeing jets and with lawmakers, aviation workers and consumers calling on the United States to do the same, the head of the aerospace giant on Tuesday made a personal appeal to President Trump.

Boeing’s chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, called from Chicago and expressed to Trump his confidence in the safety of the 737 Max 8 jets, according to two people briefed on the conversation.

The brief call had been in the works since Monday, but it came shortly after Trump raised concerns that the increasing use of technology in airplanes was compromising passenger safety. “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” he wrote on Twitter. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.”

The US aviation regulator said on Tuesday that there is “no basis” for grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft, one of which was involved in a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people. “Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” Federal Aviation Administration chief Daniel Elwell said in a statement.

The United States was nearly alone among major countries still allowing the jets to fly. Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, said regulators “will not hesitate to take immediate and appropriate action” if a safety issue arises.

Boeing reiterated in a statement late Tuesday that it had “full confidence” in the 737 Max 8. It noted that the FAA had taken no action and “based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

Two United States airlines fly the 737 Max 8 aircraft and both said they planned to keep flying. Southwest Airlines has 34 of the planes and American Airlines has 24. The airlines have said they have analyzed data from their thousands of flights with the jets and found no reason to ground them.
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