Boeing to cut 737 Max production in wake of two deadly crashes

Boeing is cutting back production of its 737 Max aircraft as the company continues to face intense scrutiny in the wake of two deadly crashes.

The company announced Friday it will slow its production rate from 52 airplanes per month to 42 starting in mid-April but did not give a time frame on when the cutback would end.


"We have the responsibility to eliminate this risk, and we know how to do it. As part of this effort, we're making progress on the 737 MAX software update that will prevent accidents like these from ever happening again," Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement Friday.  

Boeing said it would not cut jobs amid the slowdown and that its board will establish a committee to review how the company designs and develops airplanes.

"Safety is our responsibility, and we own it. When the MAX returns to the skies, we've promised our airline customers and their passengers and crews that it will be as safe as any airplane ever to fly," Muilenburg said.

The moves comes one day after a preliminary report on the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash involving a 737 Max revealed that the pilots followed the aircraft manufacturer's procedures but were ultimately unable to control the plane before it crashed, killing all 157 people on board.

For weeks, Boeing 737 Max jets have been grounded in the U.S. and other major countries as a cautionary measure. The Federal Aviation Administration said earlier this week that Boeing needs more time to propose a software fix to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and that the proposal is expected in the coming weeks.

Ethiopian investigators concluded in their preliminary report that the aircraft’s MCAS, which can make the plane swiftly nose-dive in certain dangerous situations, was activated in the final minutes of the Ethiopian flight. They also concluded that external sensors fed the plane’s flight control system incorrect data.

Muilenburg on Thursday posted a video saying that "erroneous" data contributed to the March Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crash as well as October's Lion Air crash in Indonesia.