Boeing to cut production of 737 MAX jets from mid-April

Washington: Boeing on Friday said that it will cut down the production of 737 MAX aircraft from mid-April amid reports of safety concerns.

“We have decided to temporarily move from a production rate of 52 airplanes per month to 42 airplanes per month starting in mid-April,” CNN quoted Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg as saying.

The 737 MAX jets came under scrutiny after 346 people lost their lives in two deadly plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

On March 10, 157 people on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight – a Boeing 737 MAX jet – lost their lives after their flight crashed just a few minutes after it took off from Adis Ababa.

Meanwhile, in October last year, a Boeing 737 MAX Lion Air flight crashed in Indonesia, claiming the lives of all 181 people on board.

Investigations are ongoing into both the incidents.

The March 10 incident became the second instance that the Boeing 737 MAX jet was involved in a crash within a span of five months. This triggered safety concerns, leading to several countries and airlines grounding the aircraft around the world.

The latest reports come after preliminary reports, released on Thursday, regarding the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy noted that the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was activated in the two flights during the final minutes when the pilots started struggling to keep the plane level downwards.

Muilenburg on Thursday said that the company is working in close collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration to finalise and implement a software update that will ensure accidents like that of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 never happen again.

The new software update will let the pilot have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the aircraft, ensuring that the pilot always has the upper hand.