CHICAGO—Acknowledging that certain practical considerations had been overlooked in production, Boeing president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg admitted at a press conference Monday that the company had made a mistake by including an automatic self-destruct function on all 737 Max airplanes. “At the time, we thought that having a simple, one-step option for destroying the aircraft would streamline operations and provide convenience to pilots, but in hindsight, we now see that it probably wasn’t the best idea,” said Muilenburg, noting that in light of two crashes within the past year, the button to obliterate the now-grounded planes should have at the very least been labeled and located in an area that wasn’t directly on the pilot’s yoke. “After a lot of discussion, all Boeing executives agree that if we had to do it over again, we would have either omitted the destruction feature or included it as an optional upgrade. And even then, we probably should have added some sort of fail-safe against accidental activation, like a flip box over the button or an additional feature that would cancel the 10-second countdown, which we did not think to include.” Muilenburg added that the recent oversights had prompted the company to also remove the self-destruct buttons from first class seating in all Boeing jets after several passengers had mistaken them for the flight attendant call button.
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