Boeing to make safety feature standard on 737 Max planes

Boeing will reportedly make a safety feature that might have alerted pilots to problems before two recent crashes standard on its 737 Max planes.

The “Angle of attack" (AOA) alert will be standard on future 737 Max planes and can be retrofitted to existing ones, according to Politico.

“Going forward, there will be no charge for customers who select the AOA indicator option,” Boeing reportedly said in a Wednesday statement. “Not all customers wish to include this feature on their Primary Flight Display, so it is offered as a customer-selected option.”

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Last week, The New York Times reported Boeing will make the “disagree light” a standard feature of its planes. AOA sensors indicate how much the nose of a plane is pointing up or down relative to oncoming air, according to the Times.

A 737 Max 8 jet bound for Kenya crashed after takeoff in Ethiopia earlier this month, killing everyone on board.

Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoSaluting FOIA on its birthday House passes bill to strengthen authority of federal watchdogs Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' MORE questioned on Wednesday why the feature was not previously standard, according to Reuters.

“It is very questionable, if these were safety-oriented additions, why they were not part of the required template of measures that should go into an airplane,” Chao said during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, although she reportedly declined to say she would require retrofitting of all safety options on existing planes.

During the hearing, Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Biden seeks to quell concerns over climate proposals MORE (D-W.Va.) questioned Chao on why the U.S., the last nation in the world to ground the 737 Max 8, did not act earlier.

"At the time, FAA did not have any information which mandated or indicated that grounding of these aircraft, 737 MAX 8s, would have to occur,” Chao said.

"You can’t have that as optional. Just wrong," Manchin responded. "If there's options on a plane that deals with safety, there is a problem. ... [It] should be on it mandatory from the factory if it's about safety."