Committee hearing: has Boeing CEO tried to resign?

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Getting increasingly apologetic about Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashes, Boeing CEO has revealed whether he tried to resign for the role in the light of the 737 MAX crisis. Meanwhile, the company’s chief engineer has hinted at another possible reason why it is taking so long to recertify the airplane.

On October 30, 2019, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and John Hamilton, Chief Engineer of Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes division appeared before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in a hearing focused on 737 MAX design, development, and marketing.

Has Muilenburg considered resigning? 

Having already admitted of mistakes made with the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft the day earlier,  Muilenburg reinstated that mistakes were made and the company has learned from the two accidents and discovered “things” they did not “get right” during the latest committee hearing. But for the 737 MAX aircraft safety in the future, he is confident: “we know what needs to be done”.

On October 11, Boeing publicly announced that Muilenburg has been stripped of its previous role as the company’s chairman, but has retained the role of chief executive officer. The move was to allow him “to focus full time on running the company as it works to return the 737 MAX safely to service” as well as “sharpen Boeing’s focus on product and services safety,” Boeing announcement read.

Having already lost the chairman position within the company, Muilenburg did not attempt to resign from the remaining CEO position. When asked whether he has submitted or offered to submit a letter of resignation to the company’s board, Muilenburg responded: “I have not. I am responsible, these two accidents happened on my watch. I feel responsible to see this through <…>. This is a challenging situation. My responsibility is to stick to it and to help our team work through it and to help Boeing get ready for the future”. 

What is stopping Boeing 737 MAX from entering the recertification?

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was globally grounded in mid-March 2019. As the grounding continues, the company has reinstated multiple times that works are nearing the end, however, the new certification process of the aircraft has not yet begun. 

Now, during the committee hearing, Boeing chief engineer has hinted that one of the underlying reasons behind the prolonger re-certification of the aircraft might be related to the certifying authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, which is currently also under fire for its previous work giving 737 MAX green light to fly. 

This time, the authority is doing a “very robust, very thorough” review of Boeing’s documentation, Hamilton told the committee, explaining “this is in part why it is taking us longer [to certify the 737 MAX]”. In a hearing on the previous day, Muilenburg explained that Boeing was in the final stages of the process and was preparing to test final software updates in the near term.

October 30 is the second day that the Boeing CEO and Chief Engineer appear before the U.S. lawmakers. On October 29, they testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which was also focused on the 737 MAX topic. 


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