Latest News

National News

Boeing CEO keeps job after 737 MAX drama

Boeing Co chief executive and Chairman Dennis Muilenburg has emerged with his job intact at an annual meeting and promised to win back the public's trust in the wake of two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX plane.

Battling the biggest crisis of his nearly four years as CEO, Muilenburg survived a shareholder motion to split his chairman and CEO roles.

He later told reporters he would continue to lead the company through a crisis that has triggered the grounding of Boeing's fastest-selling plane, lawsuits, investigations and lingering concerns over the 737 MAX's safety.

"I am very focused on safety going forward," he said after the meeting when reporters asked if he had considered resigning.

"I am strongly vested in that. My clear intent is to continue to lead on the front of safety, quality and integrity.

"We know we do have work to do to earn and re-earn that trust and we will."

The family of one American victim, 24-year-old Samya Stumo, staged a silent protest outside the meeting site in Chicago, while the families of other victims among the 157 killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX on March 10 held a tearful press conference at a Chicago law firm.

That plane plunged to the ground shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, five months after a similar Lion Air nosedive in Indonesia that killed 189.

The families spoke after filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Boeing and Rosemount Aerospace Inc, which designed the sensors used in the 737 MAX, one of dozens of lawsuits Boeing is facing over both crashes.

About 150 shareholders gathered in the auditorium of the Chicago Field Museum for the meeting, but only a handful questioned Muilenburg.

Shares of the company, worth $US214 billion, have lost nearly 10 per cent of their value since the March 10 crash.

Boeing is under pressure to deliver a software fix to prevent erroneous data from triggering the MCAS system and a new pilot training package that will convince global regulators, and the flying public, that the aircraft is safe.

Boeing has acknowledged the accidental firing of the software based on bad sensor data was a common link in the chain of events leading to the two accidents.

The US Federal Aviation Administration could clear Boeing's 737 MAX jet to fly in late May or the first part of June, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, though Boeing has yet to submit the updated software and training for review. Some pilots have warned that draft training proposals do not go far enough to address their concerns.

Meanwhile, deliveries of the 737 MAX, which airlines around the world had been relying on to service a growing air travel industry for years to come, are on hold.

Last week Boeing abandoned its 2019 financial outlook, halted share buybacks and said lowered production due to the 737 MAX grounding had cost it at least $US1 billion so far.

Shareholders have filed a lawsuit accusing the company of defrauding them by concealing safety deficiencies in the plane. The model is also the target of investigations by US transportation authorities and the Department of Justice.

© RAW 2019