Boeing CEO apologizes for deadly 737 Max crashes

As victims' loved ones continue to grieve their losses, Boeing executives faced lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning to address just how much they knew about issues with the 737 Max planes before the crashes.

“On behalf of myself, and the Boeing Company, we are sorry, deeply truly sorry,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg.

Muilenberg apologized not just to senators, but the families of the dead passengers who sat behind him at the hearing.

Their silence, heartbreak and loss said more than words could.

“We have learned lessons from these two accidents,” said Muilenberg. “The families that are here today, the pictures that we saw, they are heartbreaking. They reminded of the importance of the work we do.”  

But apologies were not enough.

“Those pilots never had a chance,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut). “Those loved ones never had a chance.”

Senators wanted answers - specifically, why a series of text messages between Boeing’s top test pilots calling the Max flight software “crazy” never made it to top Boeing leaders who allowed the planes to fly.

“346 people are dead because of what these chief pilots described as ‘egregious’ and ‘crazy,’ that’s their language, that’s Boeing’s internal language in this exchange,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).  

Among committee members demanding changes from Boeing was Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

“I thought it was a very heartfelt apology from the CEO,” said Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). “But, that is the beginning. Then they are going to have to make sure their aircraft is safe. They are going to have to change the culture in their own company and get the information they need when employees have concerns. And how they manage things from the top.”

All changes Boeing says it’s making.

“We will never forget,” said Muilenberg. “And that is our commitment going forward.”

The 737 Max jets are still grounded. Boeing’s CEO told senators there is no timeline to getting the flight control software finalized. He says the airplane will fly when everyone including regulators are convinced it is safe.