Test pilots including a pilot from the major US carrier American Airlines expect to test out Boeing's fix for its 737 MAX software this weekend, a pilots' union official has told Reuters.
"This airplane can be a safe airplane, and there have been great strides on getting a fix in the works, but I'll have a better feel after we can test it out, Allied Pilots Association safety committee chairman Mike Michaelis told the agency on Thursday.
The company was left scrambling to fix a bug in its software and provide pilots with related training to "address concerns" the company said it discovered after the accident earlier this month involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight soon after takeoff. The accident was the second crash involving the Boeing plane; last October, a 737 MAX operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff. Both crashes killed all passengers and crew on board.
In related news, Indonesian flag carrier Garuda cancelled its $4.9 billion order of 49 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Friday, with a company spokesperson saying its passengers have "lost confidence" in the plane.
"We have sent a letter to Boeing requesting that the order be cancelled. The reason is that Garuda passengers in Indonesia have lost trust and no longer have the confidence" in the plane, Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told reporters.
On Thursday, US media reported that both of the doomed 737s lacked two vital safety features which Boeing had listed as optional. Boeing has promised to rectify the oversight, to upgrade its so-called Manoeuvring Characteristic Augmentation System (MCAS) software and to make previously-optional sensor equipment standard.