Boeing said it is hosting pilots, engineers and technical leaders from China’s largest airlines for another series of open discussions this week about the 737 MAX, a move aimed at getting the airplane back on the sky, Global Times reported.
This is the second round of meetings pertaining to the 737 MAX issue after the model was grounded by the Chinese regulator in March.
Boeing held similar meetings with Chinese pilots and leaders in Shanghai in mid-April, the report said.
The new round of meetings kicked off in Guangzhou, South China’s Guandong province, which was attended by pilots and representatives from MAX operator China Southern Airlines. The series of meetings will continue this week at various locations around China, according to a note sent by Boeing on Wednesday.
The company said there will be more briefings with MAX operators in Haiku with Hainan Airlines, Beijing with Air China, Xiamen with Xiamen Airlines and Shanghai with China Eastern Airlines.
Chinese airlines have about one-fourth of the world’s 737 Max fleet, with 96 planes among 13 airlines. The top three carriers are China Southern Airlines with 24 planes, Air China and Hainan Airlines with 15 and 11 planes, respectively.
“Our top engineers and test pilots have worked closely with international regulators to develop, test and certify a software update of the 737 MAX, which includes additional redundancy and protective safeguards,” said Jim Webb, Boeing’s chief pilot for Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing said it is continuing to work with the Civil Aviation Administration of China and other global regulators to complete and certify the 737 MAX software and training updates.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said this week that the company has conducted almost 500 test flights with a new software update to its grounded 737 Max planes that he hopes will help win back the confidence of the flying public.
“We know that trust has been damaged over the last few months, and we own that and we are working hard to re-earn that trust going forward,” Muilenburg said.
The claim appears to have merit — is Boeing finally turning the corner on the MAX disaster?
Wired reported that a recent flight test of the Boeing 737 Max off the coast of Oregon cycled and dropped at least a dozen times with fluctuating speed, as Boeing pilots put the MAX through its paces.
A Boeing spokesperson says it was an “engineering flight,” conducted at the FAA’s request, gathering data on the jet’s performance. The spokesperson offered no details on what sort of data Boeing was after, but it’s not surprising to see the test pilots imitating a yo-yo, Wired reported.
Whatever fix Boeing devises will have to address how MCAS works and interacts with related systems, ensuring that the troubled MCAS system — blamed in both fatal crashes — only activates when a stall is in fact imminent.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has said he expects that by the end of the year, the FAA will approve his company’s fix for the troubled jet, which involves a fundamental redesign of the software system, The Seattle Times reported.
But before it can take off with passengers aboard, expect a few more up-and-down flights like this one. Let’s hope they get it right.