Boeing’s CEO is Bashed at a Congressional Hearing

"These loved ones never had a chance. They were in flying coffins..." Boeing CEO's faced some severe criticism before Congress about the 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people.

All about making sure the Max is getting back into service

Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg was overwhelmed with calls to resign, attacks on his integrity and criticism of a flight-control system linked to two fatal 737 Max crashes as he gave two days of often-contentious testimony in the U.S. Congress. Missing from the proceedings were blockbuster revelations likely to delay the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s final review of whether the Max can safely return to the skies after a grounding of more than seven months -- a central question for Boeing investors and the embattled CEO.

Having been battered by the grilling in Congress, the CEO’s next challlenge will be to win U.S. recertification of the Max by the end of 2019 as he has repeatedly promised. Badly missing that deadline will roil airline customers, undermine public confidence in the jet and put Muilenburg’s job further at risk. Muilenburg fielded questions about the jet from furious lawmakers in a five-hour appearance Wednesday. For the first time, he publicly detailed errors in the design and communications around the software linked to both crashes. And he expressed regret over Boeing’s response after a Lion Air jetliner fell from the sky on Oct. 30, 2018 -- a tragedy that repeated itself less than five months later in Ethiopia.

In hearings that were at times angry, emotional and technical, Muilenburg worked to salvage Boeing’s reputation and save his job. Directors at the company stripped him of his chairman’s role earlier and ousted Kevin McAllister, the head of the commercial aircraft division. The crashes and global grounding have been unprecedented for an advanced jetliner and have cost Boeing more than $9 billion so far. The tone contrasted with a Boeing statement a year ago, when the company angered Lion Air owner Rusdi Kirana by pointing out piloting and maintenance lapses cited in an initial report on the disaster off the coast of Indonesia. Other airlines have griped about the company’s overly optimistic assessments of when its best-selling plane will be cleared to fly.