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Boeing is considering slowing down 737 Max production if jets stay grounded: Report

Key Points
  • Boeing and its suppliers are looking into slowing production of the 737 Max, sources tell Reuters.
  • Ethiopian airlines is also reportedly reconsidering its order for 25 737 Max jets in the wake of the accidents.
  • Boeing stock is down 1.17 percent Friday.
Rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, March 11, 2019.
Mulugeta Ayene | Reuters

Boeing is reportedly looking at slowing production of its popular 737 Max jets amid mounting evidence that bad data feeding into an automated flight system played a role in two crashes of the planes since October that killed 346 people.

The company and its suppliers are weighing a slowdown if the aircraft remains grounded by international aviation regulators for several months, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The 737 Max has been grounded following a March 10 crash in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines is also reportedly reconsidering its order for 25 additional 737 Max jets in the aftermath of the crashes, Bloomberg reported.

The plane maker did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. Boeing's stock is down by about 1% Friday.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged for the first time Thursday that faulty data feeding to the jet's automated control system played a role in the crashes. His statement came after Ethiopian aviation officials released a preliminary report that found pilots followed Boeing's standard safety procedures in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in Addis Ababa on March 10.

"With the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 accident investigation, it's apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information," Muilenberg said.

Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges did not directly blame the MCAS system for the crash, but said it should be reviewed before the 737 Max jets are allowed back in the air.