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737 Max

What Should Boeing’s CEO Have Said in His Public MAX Apology?

What Should Boeing’s CEO Have Said in His Public MAX Apology?
Joe Cortez

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized to the surviving families of the 737 Max accidents on national television. But do his words go far enough? Although the company continues to offer statements on the troubled aircraft, frequent flyers are having a hard time accepting those words.

Once again, Boeing chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg is apologizing for the 737 Max – but this time, his words were directed at the families of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. During an interview with CBS News, the embattled executive offered an apology when pressed to by the interviewer.

“I do personally apologize to the families,” Muilenburg told CBS News. “We feel terrible about these accidents…we are sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents, sorry for the impact to the families and loved ones left behind. That will never change. That will always be with us.”

The latest apology is one of many Boeing’s leader has issued since the two accidents. On April 4, 2019, Muilenburg went on camera to offer a corporate apology “for the lives lost in the recent 737 MAX accidents.” At the time, Muilenburg said: “All of us feel the immense gravity of these events across our company and recognize the devastation of the families and friends of the loved ones who perished.”

Muilenburg apologized again during the company’s annual meeting. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, he told shareholders: “We own it,” while distancing his company from a “technical slip or gap.”

But is the apology enough to earn flyers’ faith in the grounded aircraft? Earlier in May 2019, United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz said he would be on his airline’s first 737 Max flight once the ground order was lifted. However, before Muilenburg’s statement was released, FlyerTalkers were skeptical of the manufacturer’s apology tour.

“Boeing gives me zero confidence so far in terms of design, response, or even understanding why their planes are grounded,” FlyerTalker Boraxo said prior to the apology. “I won’t avoid other Boeing jets but certainly need to see much more than just a ‘software fix’ and better pilot training.”

“Aviation history is littered with learning coming from accidents,” writes FlyerTalker chipmaster. “The Max isn’t the first nor the last, but for such a high profile/profit and heavily used plane the impact to us all is large, hope Boeing got it right this time.”

How do you feel about the latest apologies from Boeing? Let us know on the FlyerTalk forums!


[Image Source: Boeing]

View Comments (7)


  1. glob99

    May 31, 2019 at 5:15 am

    Boeing is still opposed to additional simulator training for MAX pilots.

  2. Tailgater

    May 31, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Still can’t believe Boeing/FAA (aren’t they one?)didn’t ground the plane after the first crash. Then, even after the second crash, Boeing/FAA didn’t ground the craft while much of the world did. Only after days later did Boeing/FAA ground the plane (probably since many passengers would refuse to board the craft, anyway.)

  3. Flying Kiwi

    May 31, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    In his “apology”, Muilenburg keeps referencing “these accidents”. They weren’t accidents, they were malfunctions of Boeing equipment that led directly to the loss of lives.

    It’s going to be a long time before I get on a 737 Max.

  4. BayAreaTrvler

    June 2, 2019 at 5:20 am

    The CEO’s messaging started with denial, then shifted to victim blaming, and ended with an apology “for what happened”. Never once has Boeing admitted that they messed up, and that is shameful, because the truth is clear to see.

  5. Boggie Dog

    June 2, 2019 at 10:01 am

    As far as I’m concerned an apology is meaningless. Boeing took short cuts on safety and didn’t ensure proper training putting a defective aircraft in the marketplace. I’m not convinced that the Boeing 737 Max 8 has been properly flown through a complete test flight program. I’m not ready to trust Boeing or this aircraft for a long time to come.

  6. horseymike

    June 3, 2019 at 10:07 am

    boeing has a choice. scrap this max crap plane or go bankrupt.

  7. sunil

    June 15, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    The shame of these accidents will weigh heavily on Boeing and its employees. Dennis Muilenburg must resign .

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