Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized on Thursday for the two 737 Max 8 jet crashes that killed 360 people within five months.
In a video statement posted to Twitter, Muilenburg said the manufacturer assumes responsibility for the two fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, both of which took place on the manufacturer’s highly popular airliners.
“We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 accidents and are relentlessly focused on safety to ensure tragedies like this never happen again,” the tweet read.
We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 accidents and are relentlessly focused on safety to ensure tragedies like this never happen again.
— Dennis A. Muilenburg (@BoeingCEO) April 4, 2019
Muilenburg promised Boeing would issue a software update for its 737 Max 8 and 9 fleet, which has been grounded internationally following the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10. Both flights crashed minutes after takeoff when an automated safety feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was triggered erroneously, sending each aircraft into a fatal nosedive. The MCAS system is meant to activate in the event of a plane stalling, and automatically tilts a plane’s nose downward.
A preliminary report issued by the Ethiopian government on Wednesday said pilots followed Boeing’s recommended safety protocol, but still failed to avoid the crash, which killed all 157 people onboard. The Lion Air flight crashed last November when a faulty sensor on the plane’s fuselage triggered the MCAS, sending the plane into an irreversible descent into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.
Muilenburg maintains that a software update that will rectify the MCAS issue will be ready within the coming weeks.
He said in the statement:
We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX. All who fly on it—the passengers, flight attendants and pilots, including our own families and friends—deserve our best. When the MAX returns to the skies with the software changes to the MCAS function, it will be among the safest airplanes ever to fly.
Hopefully this is the last statement of this type he’ll have to make.