Boeing plane development under review by U.S. prosecutors, Transportation Department


Travellers overwhelmed the airline's phone lines last week after Canada's transport minister ordered all Boeing 737 Max 8 jets be grounded across the country due to safety concerns.

FILE - Wreckage is seen at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

The system is created to bring the plan's nose down in the event the 737 is at risk of stalling - but can have catastrophic results if sensors receive erroneous information.

- Investigators who verified data extracted from the black box recorders of the Ethiopian plane have found "clear similarities" with the doomed Lion Air flight, the French BEA air accident authority also said. Neither department responded to requests for comment from AFP.

WASHINGTON/SEATTLE, March 18 - Federal prosecutors are scrutinizing the development of Boeing Co's 737 MAX jetliners which have been involved in two fatal crashes since October, a person briefed on the matter confirmed late Monday.

The causes of both crashes are under investigation.

Around 75 737 MAX flights are operated daily, representing less than six per cent of Air Canada's approximately 1,600 daily flights.

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Boeing is working in co-operation with the US Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board on all issues relating to both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian Airlines accidents, the executive said.

The updates are created to address how the aircraft's flight control system - (MCAS) Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System - responds to erroneous sensor inputs, the company's CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, said in a statement.

Boeing said the FAA had reviewed all data and concluded the aircraft "met all certification and regulatory requirements".

The AOA sensors send information to the plane's computers about the angle of the plane's nose relative to the airflow over and under the wings to help determine whether the plane is about to stall. On Monday, the company's shares dropped by 1.8 percent in NY. The 737 Max plane makes up the bulk of Boeing's order book, and the 387 planes in operation worldwide have been grounded.

Air Canada says it has 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its total fleet of 400 aircraft. The company has fallen about 12 percent since the Friday before the crash.

Critics say the aviation regulator has been too soft on Boeing, a major player in the American export economy whose planes are also at issue in the current US-China trade talks.

Legislators Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Ted Cruz, who chairs a Senate transportation subcommittee, have each called for hearings to look into the 737 Max's certification.