November 12, 2019, 20:03

Lawmakers prepare to grill Boeing CEO on 737 MAX crashes

Lawmakers prepare to grill Boeing CEO on 737 MAX crashes

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg will face tough questions from lawmakers this week during his first appearance on the Hill following the two fatal plane crashes involving the 737 MAX jet that killed 346 people.

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On Tuesday, Muilenburg will testify in front of the Senate Commerce Committee. Muilenburg’s prepared opening remarks echo statements he’s made repeatedly about Boeing’s responsibility and response to the crashes, according to a copy shared in advance by Boeing.

“We know we made mistakes and got some things wrong,” Muilenburg’s testimony says. “We own that, and we are fixing them.”

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters, FILE

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg speaks at the New York Economic club luncheon in New York City, Oct. 2, 2019.

Muilenburg also plans to highlight how Boeing has developed improvements to the now grounded 737 MAX “to ensure accidents like these never happen again.”

MORE: American Airlines expects to resume flying beleaguered Boeing 737 MAX jet in January

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., told ABC News that he plans to ask Muilenburg why Boeing did not identify issues “before the plane ever flew” during the House Committee hearing on Wednesday. The committee intends to focus on production pressures inside Boeing, pilot training requirements, concealing data from regulators and Federal Aviation Administration oversight, according to a committee spokesperson.

DeFazio says the committee has received as part of its investigation “report after report about production pressures” inside Boeing.

“I fear that profit took precedence and put pressure on the whole organization all the way down,” DeFazio said in an interview with ABC News’ Senior Transportation Correspondent David Kerley.

ABC News

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Rep. Peter DeFazio

Boeing’s safety culture has been under increased scrutiny since messages surfaced two weeks ago in which the chief technical pilot for the Boeing 737 MAX, Mark Forkner, tells another pilot that the MCAS flight control system was “running rampant” in a simulator session. The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is a software feature introduced in the 737 MAX so that it feels and flies like previous models, according to Boeing. Reports from investigators indicate that the misfiring of MCAS repeatedly pushed the planes’ noses down during the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes.


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