Boeing chief executive denies cover-up over twin disasters

Global Business

U.S. lawmakers have accused Boeing’s Chief Executive of overseeing a cover-up in safety flaws that led to two fatal crashes.

Dennis Muilenburg gave evidence to Congress exactly a year since the first of two Boeing 737 Max disasters.

And while he wanted to apologize repeatedly for mistakes, lawmakers instead demanded answers and accountability.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

The families of those killed in two Boeing crashes came face-to-face with the head of the aircraft maker when he testified before a U.S Congress inquiry.

As they sat behind him, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said: “We are sorry, deeply sorry. I think about you and your loved ones every day, and I know our entire Boeing team does as well.”

Muilenburg gave evidence on the first anniversary of a Boeing 737 Max crash off the coast of Indonesia before another in Ethiopia five months later.

The disasters claimed 346 lives and flaws with technology called MCAS designed to prevent stalls were at fault for both.

Some lawmakers accused Boeing of hiding those flaws.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, who invited relatives to stand holding enlarged photos of those lost, said, “These loved ones never had a chance, they were in flying coffins as a result of Boeing deciding that it was going to conceal MCAS from the pilots.”

Muilenberg replied, “The premise that we would lie or conceal, it’s just not consistent with our values.”

The 737 Max remains grounded worldwide, 371 aircraft in total, with no exact date for when regulators will allow them in the air again.

Boeing has been accused of cutting corners as it rushed the 737 Max to market as part of a battle with European rival Airbus to dominate lucrative short and medium haul aircraft sales.

The company denies this and says when the 737 Max returns to service, it will be one of the safest aircraft ever.