Boeing CEO skewered by Congress, told 737 Max jets are 'flying coffins'

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg was raked over the coals at an emotional hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) had victims’ family members hold up photographs of the loved ones they lost in two deadly 737 Max jet crashes that killed more than 300 people and said they were in “flying coffins” due to Boeing's decision to conceal MCAS stall-prevention software problems from the pilots.

He told Muilenberg that the crashes were “not only preventable” but also “the result of a pattern of deliberate concealment.”

Other members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation pressed Muilenberg about what and when the aviation giant knew about problems with the software.

“Did you read this document and how did your team not put it in front of you, run in with their hair on fire, saying we’ve got a real problem here,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said about the instant messages between two pilots which suggested Boeing knew about problems with its MCAS software in 2016 – more than two years before the first accident. “How did that not happen, and what does that say about the culture of Boeing?”

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“You’re the CEO,” Cruz added. “The buck stops with you.”

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Earlier in the hearing, Muilenberg admitted Boeing made some mistakes.

“"We've made mistakes and we got some things wrong,” Muilenberg said. “We're improving and we're learning."

Still, the Boeing CEO indicated he had no plans to resign, saying that his focus is “on the job at hand.”

The 737 Max was grounded in March, following the second accident. Boeing expects the aircraft to return to the skies before the end of the year. While U.S. and global regulators remain uncertain, according to reports.

The planemaker said sales plunged 21 percent in the third quarter as the grounding of the aircraft continued to halt deliveries.

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Boeing shares are up 5.7 percent this year.