It’s been a nightmarish year for Boeing, as the aerospace giant has weathered the effects of two catastrophic plane crashes that combined to kill hundreds of innocent people. Serious questions have been asked about the reliability of Boeing’s planes, and justifiably, airlines and their customers have been wondering aloud whether they can trust the company again.
It may take a long time to reach any definitive answer to that question. But for its part, Boeing is doing everything it can to learn from its mistakes and do better moving forward.
Case in point: As The New York Times reported this week, the company is working right now to develop new in-flight software and test it thoroughly, ensuring their pilots will be 100 percent ready to fly passengers safely in the future.
Boeing executives recently met with pilots from several major airlines at their Renton, Washington, headquarters. The company assured the pilots that the changes they’re making to their 737 Max jets—including better software and clearer cockpit displays—will ensure smooth landings moving forward.
“This is part of our ongoing effort to share more details about our plan for supporting the safe return of the 737 Max to commercial service,” Boeing said in a statement. “We had a productive session this past Saturday and plan to reach all current and many future Max operators and their home regulators.”
While Boeing’s summit with the airlines was a positive step toward rebuilding trust in the Max planes, that process is far from over. The Times reported that American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines were all present at the meeting and listened to Boeing’s pitch, but that doesn’t mean they will resume flying the Max anytime soon. American, for instance, has already announced that its order cancellations will continue through at least April 24.
For the time being, Boeing will have to continue demonstrating its commitment to a safer Max plane. Substantial software upgrades are only part of that process. Other possible improvements include a “disagree light,” which notifies pilots of any discrepancies in planes’ angles, and an improved primary flight display that gives more real-time updates on vital safety data.
“We’ve been working diligently and in close cooperation with the [Federal Aviation Administration] on the software update,” Boeing said. “We are taking a comprehensive and careful approach to design, develop and test the software that will ultimately lead to certification.”
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