The meeting between the pilots and Boeing happened in November — just weeks after an October crash of a Lion Air 737 Max into the Java Sea, and four months before a 737 Max operated by Ethiopian Air crashed in Ethiopia.
On the audio, a Boeing official is heard telling pilots that software changes were coming, perhaps in as little as six weeks, but that the company didn’t want to hurry the process.
The pilots indicated they weren’t aware of the 737 Max’s computerized stability program — the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.
“I don’t disagree,” the unidentified Boeing official answers.
“These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane,” a pilot says, seemingly referring to the Lion Air pilots. “Nor did anybody else.”
“I don’t know that understanding this system would have changed the outcome of this,” the Boeing official says. “In a million miles you’re going to maybe fly this airplane, and maybe once you’re going to see this ever.”
Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the audio from CNN.
Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and 9 planes were grounded worldwide after the Ethiopian Air crash in March. Between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, 346 people were killed.
Preliminary reports of the crashes implicate the MCAS and faulty sensor readings
Boeing knew about a problem linked to the sensors in 2017, but did not deploy the fix
A person familiar with the matter told CNN last week that the company had not deployed the fix, even after the Lion Air crash.
The New York Times reported one American Airlines pilot in the November 27 meeting, Todd Wissing, told the company, “I would think that there would be a priority of putting explanations of things that could kill you.”
CNN’s Patricia DiCarlo, Emanuella Grinberg and Ross Levitt contributed to this report.