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Boeing CEO addresses new 737 Max issue

Boeing has acknowledged the new issue on the Boeing 737 Max recently uncovered by the US Federal Aviation Administration, but gave no indication how long remedying it will take.

In his first comments since the FAA uncovered a data processing issue that affected pilots’ trim recovery ability, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said the airframer is of the view that “we must take action on this [issue], and we are already working on the required software”.

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Muilenburg was tightlipped on when the beleaguered narrowbody would return to the skies, or if rectifying the issue would delay its return to service.

He would only say: “It’s important we take the time necessary to make these updates.”

Muilenburg’s comments, which he posted on his Twitter account, come a week after the FAA discovered additional issues with the 737 Max. During simulator testing, FAA pilots found an issue that affected their ability to perform the procedure to counteract runaway stabiliser trim.

The issue was traced to a data-processing problem by the flight computer, FlightGlobal earlier reported.

Muilenburg says in his latest remarks that the “additional flight condition” must be addressed “to reduce pilot workload and ensure the safety of the airplane and the flying public."

Boeing has previously said that it will not offer the 737 Max for FAA certification until it has “satisfied all requirements for certification and its safe return to service”.

Boeing is in the midst of having an updated version of the 737 Max’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation systems (MCAS) certified.

Regulators worldwide grounded the 737 Max in March after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8. That crash followed the October 2018 crash of a Lion Air 737 Max 8.

The accidents, in which the MCAS was implicated as a contributory factor, killed a combined 346 people.

As the grounding wears on, many airlines have recently extended the cancellation of 737 Max services. The largest operator of the 737 Max prior to the grounding, Southwest Airlines, recently indicated that it expects the grounding to last beyond early October.

Story updated 9 July to correct the spelling of the name of Boeing CEO Muilenburg.

Story updated 15 July to correct a typographical error.

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