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Boeing scaling back production of 737 aircraft after crashes

By Sam Howard
Boeing scaling back production of 737 aircraft after crashes
Boeing's CEO announced Friday the company would reduce production of its 737 aircraft starting in mid-April. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 6 (UPI) -- Boeing will temporarily manufacture fewer models of its 737 aircraft starting this month, its CEO said in a statement.

Reducing monthly production of the 737 from 52 to 42 aircraft will help Boeing get its 737 Max variation back into the air and certify its software, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement Friday. CNN reported the move affects all 737 aircraft, but noted Boeing's 737 production line consists mostly of 737 Max aircraft. The 737 Max 8 aircraft was the type of airplane that crashed last year in Indonesia and last month in Ethiopia, killing all on board each flight

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Countries worldwide, including the United States, grounded Boeing's 737 Max 8 and Max 9 shortly after the Ethiopian Airlines crash in early March. The plane went down near Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board. In October, another 737 Max 8, operated by Indonesian airliner Lion Air, crashed into the Java Sea, killing 189.

Ethiopian officials said Thursday that Boeing needs to review its flight control system. The pilot on the Ethiopian Airlines flight followed Boeing's operations manual, authorities said.

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In mid-March, Ethiopian transport minister Dagmawit Moges said black box data from the doomed flight showed "clear similarities" to the Lion Air crash of another 737 Max 8.

Muilenbrg said two flights shared a commonality: activity from each aircraft's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which can induce a plane to dive to avoid stalling.

"We now know that the recent Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents were caused by a chain of events, with a common chain link being erroneous activation of the aircraft's MCAS function," Muilenburg said. "We have the responsibility to eliminate this risk, and we know how to do it."

RELATED Boeing CEO: 'sorry for lives lost in 737 Max 8 accidents'

Boeing said this week that it also discovered a second software problem with the Max aircraft that was unrelated to the two fatal crashes.

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