Boeing's money-spinning 737 MAX jetliner has been grounded in the wake of two deadly crashes that killed almost 350 people in the span of five months. The plane was grounded after two devastating crashes in the space of five months that saw 350 people lose their lives.
The manager, Eric Lindblad, said he planned to retire last summer, and a Boeing spokesman said Thursday that Lindblad's decision was unrelated to two deadly accidents involving Max jets.
Taking Lindblad's place as the lead of the 737 program and the Renton, Washington, factory will be Mark Jenks, who has been leading Boeing's potential new mid-market airplane (NMA) project, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Kevin McAllister wrote in the memo to employees seen by Reuters.
Described as a "quiet, get-on-and-do-it" engineer, Jenks spent half of his 36-year Boeing career on the 787 and an earlier alternative that was never launched, the Sonic Cruiser.
Once regulators approve the MAX for flight, each aircraft will likely require between 100 and 150 hours of maintenance preparation before flying, in addition to new pilot training, airline officials have said. Preliminary reports highlighted the role of new flight-control software that pushed the planes' noses down. Still, cancellations are rising because United was counting on receiving more Max jets this year, but Boeing suspended deliveries in March. In March, Boeing said John Hamilton, formerly both vice president and chief engineer in Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division, will focus exclusively on the role of chief engineer. He said during his time running the 737 program, Lindblad "has navigated some of the most hard challenges our company has ever faced".
Lindblad's departure, after a 34-year career at Boeing, comes as the world's largest planemaker navigates one of the worst crises in its history. "But this team has always done what it takes to succeed". The stock had gained 1.9 per cent to close at $359.