April 5 (UPI) -- Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized for the hundreds of lives killed in two crashes of Boeing's 737 Max 8 aircraft.
"We at Boeing are sorry for the lives lost in the recent 737 Max accidents," Muilenburg said in a video message published on the company's website Thursday. "These tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, and we extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. All of us feel the immense gravity of these events across our company and recognize the devastation of the families and friends of the loved ones who perished."
Muilenburg said the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System of the aircraft was the cause of both accidents as the system was erroneously activated shortly after take off. The MCAS forces the aircraft into a dive in order to avoid stalling.
Following the most recent accident, all Max 8 aircraft were grounded worldwide.
Muilenburg's apology came on the same day the Ethiopian Ministry of Transportation released its preliminary report that found the MCAS was to blame for the accident.
"The history of our industry shows most accidents are caused by a chain of events," Muilenburg said. "This again is the case here, and we know we can break one of those chain links in these two accidents."
He said Boeing is taking a comprehensive and disciplined approach in creating an update for the system that will take time. There will also be associated training and additional educational material for pilots that will "eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again."
He also said Boeing has always been focused on safety and that it will continue to improve the safety of its aircraft.
"We know lives depend on the work we do and that demands the utmost integrity and excellence in how we do it," he said. "With a deep sense of duty, we embrace the responsibility of designing, building and supporting the safest airplanes in the skies. We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us."