Boeing CEO slammed for 'half-truths' in 737 MAX hearing

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 29, 2019 - Duration: 03:11s

Boeing CEO slammed for 'half-truths' in 737 MAX hearing

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg was interrogated by lawmakers Tuesday over the company's grounded 737 MAX jet involved in two deadly plane crashes and accused of telling 'half-truths.'

Conway G.

Gittens reports.


Boeing CEO slammed for 'half-truths' in 737 MAX hearing

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): BOEING CEO DENNIS MUILENBERG, SAYING: "Before we start today I would like to speak directly to the families of the victims who are here with us: on behalf of myself and the Boeing Company, we are sorry, deeply and truly sorry." Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg - hauled before Congress Tuesday - on the first anniversary of the Lion Air crash - the first of two 737 MAX disasters, which combined killed 346 people.

In an emotional moment, families from that crash and an Ethiopian Airlines in March were invited to stand during the Senate testimony and hold up large photos of those killed.

Muilenberg, which up until now has refused invitations to testify, delivered his strongest apology yet and the broadest acceptance of responsibility to date.

Both accidents have been tied to Boeing's anti-stall software known as MCAS.


We've been challenged and changed by these accidents.

We've made mistakes and we've got some things wrong." But Senators trying to get to the heart of what Boeing actually did wrong - didn't get much information from Muilenberg - much to bi-partisan outrage.

SOUNDBITE: SENATOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH, (D) ILLINOIS, SAYING: "Time and again, this is my frustration, Boeing has not told the whole truth to this committee and to the families and to the people looking at this." SOUNDBITE: SENATOR SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, (R) WEST VIRGINIA, SAYING: "Was there any reaction inside your company after the Lion Air crash and don't tell me because you didn't have the official report?" SOUNDBITE: SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) CONNECTICUT, SAYING: "Those pilots never had a chance.

These loved ones never had a chance.

They were in flying coffins." SOUNDBITE: SENATOR TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS, SAYING: "Mr. Muilenberg, how in the hell did nobody bring this to your attention?" That question, from Senator Cruz and other lawmakers, focused on messages from a former test pilot sent even before the plane was certified to fly, which described erratic behavior of a simulator version of the same software now linked to the crashes.

The 2016 messages, which Muilenberg claimed he only found out about months ago, were only recently turned over to regulators and investigators There were other questions that seemed to go unanswered to Senators' satisfaction - given concerns expressed in the messages: Why didn't Boeing fix the software before the accidents?

Or even alert pilots to the possibility there was a problem?

Muilenberg conceded once again the company made some errors in judgment at the time.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): BOEING CEO DENNIS MUILENBERG, SAYING: "We have not blamed the pilots and I know that that's been reported.

That is not our company position.

And it never will be.

We are responsible for our airplanes.

We are responsible and we own that regardless of cause.

Any accident with any of our airplanes is unacceptable." But Muilenberg's appearance did little to restore confidence among senators.

SOUNDBITE: SENATOR JON TESTER, (D) MONTANA, SAYING: "I would walk before I get on a 737 MAX." The best-selling plane is still grounded worldwide.

Muilenberg is back on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to testify before a House panel.

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