American Airlines unaware of Boeing 737 Max functions related to potential hazard

American Airlines said it was unaware of issues related to new functions of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jetliners – which could cause planes to abruptly dive – until the company released a memo about the problem last week.

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"We value our partnership with Boeing, but were unaware of some of the functionality of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System installed on the MAX 8," an American Airlines spokesman said in a statement.

The company has 16 Max 8 jets in its current fleet and said it had not experienced the issue that could cause planes to plunge.

Boeing declined to comment beyond statements issued regarding the memo.

This news comes after the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Boeing withheld information about the potential dangers related to the new flight-control feature.

During an interview with FOX Business this week, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the 737 Max jets are safe and denied that the company withheld any information.

In the wake of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia – where 189 people were killed – the plane maker sent a bulletin that warns incorrect readings from a flight-monitoring system can result in the jets abruptly diving – a function of its anti-stall system.

“On November 6, 2018, Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) directing operators to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an [angle of attack] sensor,” a spokesperson for the company said.

When the angle of attack sensors – which detect how wind is meeting the wing – perceive incorrect readings the plane may think it is experiencing an aerodynamic stall, causing it to dive.

The issue was discovered through the investigation into the Lion Air crash. Boeing said Lion Air Flight 610 experienced “erroneous input” from one of the sensors in question.

It was not immediately clear if the issue in question was directly related to what happened in Indonesia, but Boeing said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

There are more than 200 Boeing Max jets around the world, with orders for more than 4,700, according to Boeing’s website.

The Lion Air crash involved a brand new Boeing Max 8 jet, which was cleared to fly despite days of inaccurate speed readings. About 15 minutes into the flight, which took off from Jakarta, the plane plunged into the sea.

It has not been determined whether those incorrect readings played any role in the Oct. 29 crash.