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Boeing invites pilots, regulators for briefing, as it seems to return 737 MAX for service



Boeing said it invited more than 200 global airline pilots, technical managers, and regulators for an information session Wednesday, as it seems to return 737 MAX for commercial service.

The meeting is a sign that Boeing's planned patch is nearing completion even though it still needs regulatory approval.

On the weekend, Ethiopian Airlines leaders had asked if Boeing had told the pilots enough "aggressive" software to push the aircraft's nose down, focusing on investigating a deadly crash in Ethiopia this month leading to the global grounding of 737 MAX-jets.

The information session at Renton, Washington on Wednesday, is part of a plan to reach all current and many future 737 MAX operators and their home controllers to discuss software and training updates for the jet, Boeing said in a statement.

Garuda Indonesia, who said on Friday it was scheduled to cancel its order for 49 737 MAX jets referring to loss of fit Nger confidence after the collapse was invited to briefing, CEO Ari Askhara told Reuters on Monday.

"We were informed Friday but because it is short notice we cannot send a pilot there," he said and added the airline had requested a webinar with Boeing, but this idea had been rejected.

A Boeing spokeswoman said Wednesday's incident was one of a number of personal information.

"We have planned and will continue to arrange additional meetings to communicate with all current and many future MAX customers and operators," she said.

Garuda has only a 737 MAX and had reconsidered its order before the Ethiopian crash, as did the other Indonesian airline Lion Air, who experienced a fatal accident in October.

Lion Air CEO Daniel Putut said Boeing had informed the airline about the Wednesday meeting, but it could not be present. He declined to comment further.

On Monday, Singapore Airlines said its offshoot SilkAir, which operates 737 MAX, had received the invitation to Wednesday's event and would send representatives.

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore representatives will also attend, a spokeswoman told the regulator.

Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd, which had received its first 737 MAX in April, said it planned to send pilots to Renton. South Korean low-cost operator Eastar Jet sends two pilots, a spokesman said.

Ethiopian Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

737 MAX is Boeing's best-selling aircraft with orders

Teams from the three US airlines that own 737 MAX jets participated in a session in Renton, which underwent a scheduled software upgrade on Saturday.

An American official briefed the case on Saturday said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet canceled the software upgrade and training, but the goal is to review them in the coming weeks and approve them by April.

It was unclear whether the software upgrade called "design changes" by the FAA will solve concerns arising from the ongoing investigation on March 1

0, the Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 onboard.

"After the crash, it became aware that the system is aggressive," Yoha nnes Hailemariam, vice president of aircraft operations in Ethiopian, told local journalists speaking in the Amharic language.

"It gives a stop message, and it requires immediate action that is faster than the action that pilots were informed about taking off Boeing," said Yohannes, even a pilot with over 30 years of experience including flying Boeings 777 and 787.

The US official said planned changes included 15 minutes of training to help pilots disable the anti-stall system known as MCAS in case of faulty sensor data or other problems.

On Sunday, American Airlines said it would extend flights through April 24 due to the 737 MAX foundation and cut some extra flights.


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