Amid concerns over alleged technical defects in 737 Max planes, a senior Boeing official said on Wednesday that it was in discussion with various customer airlines and their pilots and cabin crew members to figure out how to communicate to passengers that the aircraft was "ultimately safe". On March 13 this year, all Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded in India by the aviation regulator DGCA after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max plane on March 10 near Addis Ababa, in which 157 people were killed, including four Indians. SpiceJet had to ground 12 aircraft, forcing it to cancel a significant number of flights on that day as well as on March 14. "We are working with the pilot community...of the customer airlines and the flight attendants. We are working with our customers (airlines) to figure out how we can communicate the message to passengers," said Darren Hulst, Deputy Vice President of Commercial Marketing, Boeing in New Delhi.
"We want to be very transparent, we want to be sensitive to each individual airline and their customers (passengers) to make sure that they can deliver the message about what happened, but also why the aircraft is ultimately safe and should be safe to fly," he added. The March 10 incident near Addis Ababa was the second one in a period of five months. In October last year, a 737 Max plane operated by Lion Air had crashed in Indonesia, killing 180 people. In both the crashes, a flight-control system called MCAS had pushed the nose of the 737 Max planes down. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced strong questions from United States senators, who are part of Senate Commerce Committee, on October 29 about both the crashes and whether the company concealed information about MCAS from regulators.
The global aerospace giant expects the US aviation regulator FAA to approve its changes in 737 Max plane by year-end. However, it is not clear when would the airlines across the world would induct these aircraft in their respective fleets again. In September, a senior official of Indian aviation regulator DGCA said that it will "conduct its own checks once the US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gives the green light to the 737 Max plane".