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Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is determined to rebuild public trust in the airline manufacturer amid the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jet, telling CBS News that he would "absolutely" put his own family in the beleaguered plane.
After reiterating Boeing's commitment to safety and promising a sufficient software update in March, Muilenburg recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Norah O'Donnell of CBS News.
In a portion of the interview published Thursday, the Boeing boss issued a personal apology to the families of those killed in the Lion Air Flight 610 crash last October and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash this past March. A total of 346 people were killed in the two accidents.
"I do personally apologize to the families. We feel terrible about these accidents, and we apologize for what happened, we are sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents, and that will never change. That will always be with us. I can tell you it affects me directly as a leader of this company, it's very difficult," said Muilenburg, who told O'Donnell that he never considered stepping down in the aftermath.
Muilenburg admitted that mistakes were made and acknowledged the manufacturer's communication with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was "not what it should have been."
"We clearly fell short and the implementation of this angle-of-attack disagree alert was a mistake, right, we did not implement it properly. We're confident in the fundamental safety of the airplane," he added.
When asked if he'd put his family on a 737 Max jet, Muilenburg responded: "Without any hesitation. Absolutely."
Boeing confirmed that the software update for 737 Max planes was completed earlier this month and FAA officials recently said the aircraft could be ungrounded by as soon as late June. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the plane might not return to service until August at the earliest.
In the meantime, travel expert Mark Murphy points out that the grounding will have little to no impact on summer air travelers as the 737 Max makes up only a small percentage of carriers' overall fleets. Southwest Airlines flies the most with just over 30.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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