Boeing says it is “making progress” on an update of 737 MAX software that it hopes will prevent future accidents.
The aircraft-maker’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg admitted the “erroneous activation” of the MCAS software had been a “common link” between the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air.
Both crashes involved the 737 MAX 8, which had an automated system that pushed down the nose when sensor reading detected the risk of an aerodynamic stall.
Mr Muilenburg said in a statement: “We have the responsibility to eliminate this risk, and we know how to do it.
“As part of this effort, we’re making progress on the 737 MAX software update that will prevent accidents like these from ever happening again.
“Teams are working tirelessly, advancing and testing the software, conducting non-advocate reviews, and engaging regulators and customers worldwide as we proceed to final certification.”
The crash in Ethiopia last month killed all 157 people on board and a preliminary report on Thursday, based on flight data and cockpit voice recorders, showed the faulty sensor sparked a series of events that caused the pilots to lose control of the plane.
The problems were similar to those reported on the Indonesian Lion Air flight that crashed last October, killing all 189 on board.
Mr Muilenburg said that the firm would adjust its 737 production to allow it to work on software certification and returning the MAX to flight.
This would see it move from a rate of 52 planes per month to 42 from mid-April.
“At a production rate of 42 airplanes per month, the 737 program and related production teams will maintain their current employment levels while we continue to invest in the broader health and quality of our production system and supply chain,” he said.
New pilot training courses and educational material for MAX customers around the world is being finalised and the board of directors has been asked to form a committee to review policies and processes for the design and development of aircraft.
Mr Muilenburg said: “Safety is our responsibility, and we own it.
“When the MAX returns to the skies, we’ve promised our airline customers and their passengers and crews that it will be as safe as any airplane ever to fly.”