Executives at Boeing have tacitly admitted that software in the company’s 737 MAX airplanes may have played a role in two recent deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. On Wednesday, Boeing executives laid out plans for new software updates to the 737 MAX plane, giving pilots more control of the aircraft. Many aviation security experts believe faulty autopilot software was to blame for the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed a combined 346 people. This comes after The New York Times reported both those flights lacked optional safety features that could have prevented the deaths. On Capitol Hill, FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell on Wednesday defended his agency’s oversight of Boeing. He was questioned by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.
Daniel Elwell: “I find it hard to believe that a safety company like an airline would save a couple thousand dollars on an option that might improve safety on a multi”—
Sen. Ed Markey: “Yeah, it may be hard—it may be hard for you to believe, but it’s happening.”
This comes as The Wall Street Journal reports Boeing sought to accelerate the development of the 737 MAX jet by lobbying to reduce regulatory scrutiny while requiring as little new training for pilots as possible. We’ll have more on Boeing later in the broadcast.