Boeing says optional 737 MAX alert was 'not activated as intended'

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As Boeing rushes to get the grounded 737 Max back in the air, CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced reporters and shareholders Monday at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Chicago.

Boeing, in a statement to CNBC, said the "angle-of-attack" disagree lights would be included as a standard Max feature. The airline, in a statement to CNBC, said Boeing had indicated through its manual that the disagree lights were functional on the 737 Max.

Air Canada - where 24 Max 8s make up about 10 per cent of its main 243-plane fleet - said last week that the company has "protected 96 per cent of planned flying" through measures that include consolidating flights on larger planes and extending leases on aircraft planned to exit the fleet.

It said that once the 737 Max 8 returns to the skies, it will "have an activated and operable disagree alert and an optional angle of attack indicator".

But through it all, CEO Dennis Muilenburg stuck to the script, using the same phrases the aerospace company has used repeatedly since the crashes: That the company "owns" the responsibility to update its software, but does not precisely "own" the disasters.

The CEO said Boeing provided steps that should be taken in response to problems like those encountered by pilots of the planes that crashed.

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During the meeting, one shareholder asked Muilenburg what Boeing was doing on safety assessments following the crashes. "One of the links was the activation of the MCAS system because of the data", Muilenburg said at the media briefing.

Boeing has held its first annual shareholders' meeting since two of its 737 Max aircraft crashed within five months, killing almost 350 people in total.

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane being built for Spain-based Air Europa rolls toward takeoff before a test flight, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Boeing offered customers two optional paid features relating to AOA.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since mid-March following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight and an earlier Lion Air crash, a crisis that has raised questions about whether the U.S. giant sacrificed safety in its zeal to market a new narrow-body plane and compete with Airbus.

"We know we can break this link in the chain".

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It reiterated its stance that air speed, attitude and altitude displays, together with the stick shaker, were the primary flight information indicators in the flight deck.

It noted it had also followed a process that was consistent with the introduction of previous new aircraft and derivatives.

The union for American Airlines pilots wants mandatory additional training including, at a minimum, video demonstrations showing pilots how to respond to failures of systems on the plane.

"This change will be made to all MAX aircraft - production and retrofit", the company said.

"When it comes to safety, there are no competing priorities", Muilenburg said at the meeting. All customers with previously delivered MAX airplanes will have the ability to activate the disagree alert per a service bulletin to airlines.

"All 737 MAX pilots will take mandated training which familiarizes them with the MCAS function and associated airplane operational procedures", it said.

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