Boeing is temporarily cutting production of its 737 MAX airliners in the wake of two crashes that killed more than 300 people.
The Chicago-based planemaker, whose best-selling airliner has been grounded since mid-March, will produce just 42 of the jets per month, down from 52, starting in mid-April, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.
“We are coordinating closely with our customers as we work through plans to mitigate the impact of this adjustment,” Muilenburg said. “We will also work directly with our suppliers on their production plans to minimize operational disruption and financial impact.”
In addition to slowing output of the 737 MAX, the aerospace giant has created a four-member committee composed of board members to review “company-wide policies and processes for the design and development of the airplanes we build.”
“Safety is our responsibility, and we own it,” Muilenburg said. “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.”
The company, which is developing a fix for software faulted in the two disasters, is simultaneously grappling with congressional and regulatory scrutiny. The first crash, of a Lion Air flight in October, was followed by the downing of an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March, after which the Federal Aviation Administration joined its international counterparts in grounding the 737 MAX fleet.
Boeing acknowledged Thursday that a link between the two crashes was an issue with the 737 MAX’s anti-stall software, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. The 737 MAX is Boeing’s latest version of a single-aisle jetliner introduced in 1967.