NEW YORK - Boeing's CEO said he hopes his company can get the troubled 737 Max 8 jet back in the air by the end of the year.
But he added that it's going to take a long time to get back into the good graces of hesitant travelers.
Dennis Muilenburg made the comments at an industry conference in New York City Wednesday morning.
He said he's confident the Max 8 will be the safety plane in the sky once the FAA allows it to return to service, adding that it will take time to rebuild consumer confidence.
It's been nearly five months since the entire fleet of Boeing's 737 Max 8 jets was grounded following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
Automated flight control software was to blame.
Speaking at the Jefferies Global Industrials Conference in New York, Boeing's CEO assured the audience that the company has learned from its mistakes.
“That continues to weigh heavily on our company and we're always going to remember that,” Muilenburg said. “It's done nothing but re-affirm our commitment to safety, quality, and integrity in everything that we do.”
Muilenburg said Boeing anticipates submitting its re-certification package to the FAA by the end of September.
Last week, the Seattle Times reported that during testing of software upgrades, it was the FAA's "newly stringent tests that in June uncovered a potential flaw and have spurred Boeing to make a fundamental software-design change."
The paper added that "during testing of the effect of a glitch in the computer hardware, one out of three pilots in a simulation failed to save the aircraft."
“These test pilots put these planes through situations that as passengers or line pilot, you're never going to see,” retired airline captain and aviation expert Denny Kelly said.
Muilenberg said once the recertified Max jets are allowed to return to service, they will be the safest jet in the sky.
Kelly agreed, but said any small problem will be scrutinized.
“It's going to lead the newscast. 737 Max has a problem, so they really have to be careful,” Kelly said. “They really have to be careful as to how they operate it, who operates it, and what the fix is, and they're going to take care of all of that before they put it in the air.”
Boeing’s CEO said that their aware some people may be skeptical.
“We know that will take some time to rebuild public confidence, but we do believe, with the software updates, the Max will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly,” Muilenburg said. “We are very confident in that.”
Fort Worth-based American Airlines has extended cancellations for flights involving the Max through November 2, while Dallas-based Southwest plans to keep the Max jet out of service through the holiday season.