Trump says Boeing should fix, 'rebrand' grounded 737 MAX jet

Acting defense secretary under probe over Boeing ties

U.S. president Donald Trump suggested Boeing should rebrand its troubled Max 8. American Airlines on Sunday said it was cancelling flights on Boeing 737 Max aircraft through August 19 while it waited for Boeing and the US' Federal Aviation Administration to fix and recertify the aircrafts' flight-control systems.

In a letter to employees, American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said the new cancellations represent 1.5% of its total flights each day of the busy summer travel season. Yet those close ties were seen through a more critical lens as Boeing and U.S. regulators appeared slow to react to the March 10 crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet in Ethiopia.

Currently, Boeing has pilots from American Airlines testing a software update to the MCAS system in the simulator at the Boeing facility in Renton, Washington. The airline had originally canceled flights with MAX aircraft through April 20th.

The Ethiopia Airlines jet reportedly had its angle-of-attack sensor damaged on takeoff from a foreign object or bird, experts said last week.

Federal regulators on Friday briefed pilots and U.S. airlines on progress in restoring Boeing's grounded 737 Max to flight.

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"We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the MAX, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon", Parker and Isom wrote.

The plane's grounding has also threatened the US summer travel season, with some airlines removing the 737 from their schedules through August and canceling a number of scheduled flights.

"My team and I are working closely with our customers to answer their questions, get their feedback and ensure those who operate the Max are prepared when the grounding is lifted and the fleet returns to flight", Muilenburg said.

CNBC reported Boeing said Thursday it has completed 96 flights with the new Max software fix. The company had initially planned to submit its full package of software and training changes to the FAA for review by the first week of April, but the submission was delayed.

Donald Trump has claimed he would be able to fix the troubled Boeing 737 Max and rebrand it after the double air tragedies. "We didn't have to make this decision today", Trump said during the announcement March 13.

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