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Boeing releases trove of 'damning' messages releated to 737 Max

Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Boeing on Thursday sent Congress more than 100 pages of internal communications that further raise questions about its development of the now grounded 737 Max aircraft.

"These communications do not reflect the company we are and need to be, and they are completely unacceptable," Boeing said in a statement. "We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the [Federal Aviation Administration], Congress, our airline customers and to the flying public for them."

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Included in the messages, some of which contain vulgar language, are communications between Boeing employees boasting about manipulating American and international safety regulators.

"Yes, I still haven't been forgiven by god for the covering up I did last year," one employee said in 2018 concerning an exchange of information with the FAA.

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In another, one employee asks another if they would put their family on a 737 Max jet piloted by a simulator-trained crew.

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"No," the other employee flatly replied.

Boeing said it has proactively brought these messages, and additional documents, to the FAA's attention to prove its commitment to transparency and to Senate and House committees in recognition of their oversight functions, admitting that they will raise questions over the development and qualification of its Max simulators and the company's interactions with the federal aviation regulator.

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"We provided these documents to the FAA and Congress as a reflection of our commitment to transparency and cooperation with the authorities responsible for regulating and overseeing our industry," Boeing said. "We welcome, and will fully support, any additional review the FAA believes is appropriate in connection with any of these matters, as well as the continued involvement of the relevant congressional committees with these issues."

Boeing has been under intense scrutiny over the development of its 737 Max aircraft after nearly 350 people were killed in two crashes of the jets in a matter of months last year, resulting in a worldwide grounding of the plane that has cost the U.S.-aircraft manufacturer billions of dollars and tarnished its reputation. Its former CEO Dennis Muilenburg was fired amid a leadership shakeup following the fallout over the crashes

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Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure, called the trove of messages "incredibly damning."

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"They paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally," he said in a statement. "I can only imagine how painful it must be for the families of the 346 victims to read these new documents that detail some of the earliest and most fundamental errors in the decisions that went into the fatally flawed aircraft."

His committee has been conducting an investigation into the Max aircraft's development and certification the past 10 months, and these emails raise his concerns "to an entirely new level," he said.

"They show a coordinated effort dating back to the earliest days of the 737 Max program to conceal critical information from regulators and the public," he said. "While it is also clear from these emails that the problems did not merely stem from a lone Boeing employee who uses colorful language in his communications. "

The FAA said it reviewed the documents and "determined that nothing in the submission pointed to any safety risks that were not already identified as part of the ongoing review of proposed modifications to the aircraft."

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It called the tone and language of the communications "disappointing" but remains committed to "following a thorough process for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service.

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