NEW YORK: Boeing unveiled its latest version of the 737 Max on Friday even as the aircraft remains grounded globally following two deadly crashes.
Officials unveiled the 737 Max 10 at a company ceremony at Boeing’s Renton, Washington factory and released a photograph of the white and blue plane emblazoned with the Boeing logo.
The Max has been grounded since March following a pair of deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
Boeing has curtailed deliveries of new planes and cut its production level as the company works to satisfy regulators that the Max is safe.
The company announced new orders for the Max earlier this week at an air show in Dubai but analysts have cautioned that the company’s prospects will remain clouded until regulators clear the Max to resume service.
The Max 10, which is bigger than earlier versions, will contain an upgraded version of a flight handling system that has been seen as a key factor in both crashes.
The mechanism, the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), has been tweaked to give the pilot more control. But regulators, including the Federal Aviation Administration, have yet to sign off on the changes.
Boeing said earlier this month that it hopes to get the green light from regulators before the end of the year but delayed its estimate for the resumption of commercial flights until January to allow for pilot training.
The Max 10 has 230 seats, about 20 more than the version that crashed in ill-fated flights by Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines.
Earlier Friday, Boeing announced that Anne Toulouse, senior vice president of communications, would retire next year after 30 years with the company.
Toulouse alluded to the company’s travails.
“This past year has been all-consuming and profoundly difficult for all of us at Boeing — albeit nowhere close to the experience of the families affected by the Max accidents,” she said in a statement.
“As we look ahead, I am confident the hard lessons learnt will make Boeing better and that we will deliver on our important commitments. As we move into that next phase, I can best serve the company by turning over the role to someone with fresh perspective and, therefore, made the difficult decision to retire.”