Boeing is cutting production of the 737 Max as investigations continue into two fatal crashes involving the new aircraft.

The US manufacturer’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg confirmed that the production rate was being reduced from 52 to 42 aircraft a month on a temporary basis from mid-April.

Thus comes as Boeing works on a crucial software fix for the aircraft which have been grounded worldwide following two crashes which killed almost 350 people.

“We now know that the recent Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents were caused by a chain of events, with a common chain link being erroneous activation of the aircraft’s MCAS [Manoeuvreing Characteristics Augmentation System] function,” Muilenburg said on Friday.

“We have the responsibility to eliminate this risk, and we know how to do it. As part of this effort, we’re making progress on the 737 Max software update that will prevent accidents like these from ever happening again.”

He added: “As we continue to work through these steps, we’re adjusting the 737 production system temporarily to accommodate the pause in Max deliveries, allowing us to prioritise additional resources to focus on software certification and returning the Max to flight.

“We have decided to temporarily move from a production rate of 52 airplanes per month to 42 airplanes per month starting in mid-April.

“At a production rate of 42 airplanes per month, the 737 programme and related production teams will maintain their current employment levels while we continue to invest in the broader health and quality of our production system and supply chain.

“We are co-ordinating closely with our customers as we work through plans to mitigate the impact of this adjustment.

“We will also work directly with our suppliers on their production plans to minimise operational disruption and financial impact of the production rate change.

“When the Max returns to the skies, we’ve promised our airline customers and their passengers and crews that it will be as safe as any airplane ever to fly.

“Our continued disciplined approach is the right decision for our employees, customers, supplier partners and other stakeholders as we work with global regulators and customers to return the 737 Max fleet to service and deliver on our commitments to all of our stakeholders.”

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