American Airlines will cancel 115 Max flights a day through busy summer travel season
On Friday, FAA regulators met with pilot representatives from Southwest, American and United to discuss the software overhaul. The meeting was part of a broader soul-searching that has gripped the U.S. aviation community after Max jets crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people.
Investigators concluded that the anti-stalling feature — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS — was activated in the final minutes of the Ethiopian flight. And Boeing’s role in certifying its own planes also is under intense scrutiny.
Pilot unions from Southwest and American have been particularly critical of Boeing. In a bulletin sent to members after the meeting, Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said the FAA’s policy of “organization designation authorization,” that allows manufacturers to self-certify, should be debated in Congress.
The self-certification policy “may be too ingrained to reverse and further complicated because of the FAA’s budget and lack of available and qualified personnel,” Weaks wrote.
Weaks said discussions will take place around what he called “the very one-sided duopoly that Boeing enjoys and the antitrust issues that accompany this long-overlooked issue,” adding that Boeing should continue to face scrutiny over its flight-control systems and the related certification process.
At an appearance Thursday in Dallas, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg called the weeks of fallout over the Max the most “heart-wrenching” of his 34-year career with the aerospace giant.