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Brooke Sutherland

Boeing and FAA’s Apology Tour Lacks an Apology

What’s needed most is ownership of what went wrong and a fuller explanation.

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

Photographer: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Boeing Co. and the Federal Aviation Administration’s response to two fatal crashes involving the 737 Max plane is still missing a key ingredient: accountability.  

Grief has shifted quickly to blame amid troublesome questions about Boeing’s apparent attempts to minimize the differences between the Max and older 737 models in an effort to speed development and the FAA’s seeming willingness to let it do so. After initially being caught in an isolated defense of the Max’s airworthiness as regulators around the globe grounded the plane, Boeing and the FAA are attempting to steer the conversation away from what went wrong with promises to do better in the future. Regulators from the Transportation Department and the FAA are due to appear before the Senate on Wednesday and will vow to improve their oversight, while Boeing is pitching a fix for the anti-stall flight-control software that’s thought to have been a factor in both crashes to the media, pilot groups and airline executives at its Renton, Washington manufacturing facility.