The United States will mandate that Boeing Co. implement design changes by April that have been in the works for months for the 737 MAX 8 fleet after a fatal crash in October but said the plane was airworthy and did not need to be grounded after a second crash on March 10.
An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on March 10, killing all 157 aboard and raising questions about the safety of the new variant of the industry workhorse, one of which also crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
Boeing confirmed the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement late on March 11 that it will deploy a software upgrade across the 737 MAX 8 fleet “in the coming weeks” as pressure mounted.
Two U.S. senators called the fleet’s immediate grounding and a rising number of airlines said they would voluntarily ground their fleets.
The company confirmed it had for several months “been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer.”