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Boeing 'Regrets The Concern' Over Former Pilot's Message On 737 MAX

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Boeing said it understands and regrets the concern caused by the publications of instant messages involving a former test pilot that he "unknowingly" lied to regulators about a flight-control system on the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

The aircraft maker said it especially regrets the difficulties that the release of the messages presented for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration or FAA as well as other regulators.

Mark Forkner, the former Boeing test pilot who was behind the 737 Max certification in 2016, had exchanged instant messages with his colleague that a key flight handling system, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS, was "running rampant" during flight simulator tests. Forkner also said in the instant messages that he "unknowingly" lied to regulators.

The Boeing 737 Max aircraft's automated stall-prevention system known as the MCAS has been linked to two deadly crashes of the aircraft that killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing has been reeling under the impact of the two crashes. The 737 Max, Boeing's best-selling aircraft, were grounded by airlines worldwide earlier this year following the crashes.

"It is unfortunate that this document, which was provided early this year to government investigators, could not be released in a manner that would have allowed for meaningful explanation," Boeing said.

The company said while it has not been able to speak to Forkner directly about his understanding of the document, the former pilot has said through his lawyer that his comments reflected a "reaction to a simulator program that was not functioning properly and that was still undergoing testing."

Boeing added it is continuing to investigate the circumstances of this exchange of messages and will share any findings with the appropriate investigating and regulatory authorities.

The FAA has called the document "concerning" and said it was asking Boeing for an immediate explanation for the delay in turning over the documents, which Boeing provided to lawmakers ahead of hearings this month.

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg is due to testify before two congressional hearings later this month.

Recently, Boeing's board removed Muilenburg of his chairman title, saying the change would enable Muilenburg to focus on returning the company's best-selling 737 MAX aircraft to service.

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