Boeing refused to hold a conference call scheduled for Tuesday with the airlines to discuss problems around its latest aircraft, which was closely analyzed after a fatal accident in Indonesia.
The company did not immediately give an explanation for canceling the call, but later stated that it would instead hold a series of regional calls with the airlines in order to give more time for questions.
The audience for the challenge was to include technical experts in airlines that fly MAX, including American, Southwestern and South American. The first item on the agenda was to look at the differences in flight control systems between MAKS and its predecessor 737 model, called NG or the next generation, according to people informed about call plans.
US airline pilots complained that they were not informed of a new feature in MAX, which could have dramatically lowered their nose if sensors indicate that the plane is about to stop.
“Boeing has been and continues to cooperate with our customers. We continue to schedule meetings to share information, ”said Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers. He declined to say why the call on Tuesday was canceled, but said that new meetings would be held early next week.
Indonesian investigators are investigating whether the new anti-submarine system at MAX played in a Lion Air crash on October 29, shortly after taking off from Jakarta. The plane flew randomly before plunging into the sea of Java, killing all 189 people aboard.
CFRA Research analyst Jim Koridor said that the call was canceled by “a bad look at the company when it faces growing criticism of potential problems with sensors in the plane that could cause the plane to mistakenly correct itself in a steep dive.” He said that Boeing should communicate more and better, no less. ”
A spokeswoman for Southwest said that Boeing did not give a reason for cancellation and did not initially reschedule the call. She said the airline will follow any future guidance from Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration as the investigation continues.
The representative of the American side said that the airline will continue to work with Boeing and the FAA. United declined to comment.
During October, Boeing delivered 241 MAX aircraft to airlines and took orders for almost 4,800 people.
The new system can dramatically lower the nose of the plane, if the sensors detect that the plane can get into an aerodynamic stall. Investigators in the Lev Air crash say that the plane received erroneous readings from the so-called angle of attack sensors, which track whether the nose is pointing up, down, or at level, and they are investigating whether bad data caused the nose to be planed for automatic feeding.
Boeing shares fell 7.6 percent in morning trading, but over the next two hours they lost most of their losses. Shares closed at 3.24 dollars, or 1 percent, at $ 317.70. They have lost 14 percent since November 9, when regulators focused on the role of aircraft control systems in accidents.
David Koenig can be found at http://twitter.com/airlinewriter
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