Sept. 25 (UPI) — U.S. aviation giant Boeing on Wednesday created a new aerospace safety committee to monitor its aircraft designs, in the wake of a deadly problem with its 737 Max fleet, which still hasn’t been cleared to return to flight.
Boeing said it’s working on a software fix for the Max’s automated flight system, which investigators say was at the heart of two crashes in the past year — one in Indonesia and one in Ethiopia. A combined 346 people were killed.
CEO Dennis Muilenburg and Boeing’s board said the new committee will ensure safe design, development, manufacture, production, operation, maintenance and delivery of Boeing products.
Retired Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr., former vice chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, will chair the panel. Board members Lynn Good and Lawrence Kellner will also serve on the committee.
“The safety of the global aviation industry is rooted in its dedication to continuous improvement and learning,” Giambastiani said in a statement. “The independent committee review was extensive, rigorous and focused on delivering specific recommendations to ensure the highest levels of safety in Boeing airplanes and aerospace products and services and for all who fly on Boeing airplanes.”
The 737 Max 8 and Max 9 have been grounded worldwide since March and Boeing has since said it’s close to a fix, which would also need approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog, said this week some FAA inspectors were not fully qualified to certify pilots for multiple aircraft models, including the Boeing 737 Max. The office sent its findings to President Donald Trump and Congress on Tuesday. A whistle-blower told the OSC they found instances in which inspectors hadn’t received all required training and weren’t certified flight instructors. The FAA has denied the finding.
Boeing said Monday it will start paying $50 million in financial assistance to the victims’ families.