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By Robert Wall
Airbus SE (AIR.FR) Chief Executive Guillaume Faury on Thursday expressed concerns that the grounding of the rival Boeing Co. (BA) 737 MAX plane could dent passenger confidence and damage cooperation among international air safety regulators.
"There are a number of negative impacts for the industry," Mr. Faury told reporters.
Boeing's 737 MAX suffered two fatal crashes in less than five months, spurring safety concerns that led to the jet's global grounding in March.
Mr. Faury said that if passenger trust in aviation were weakened it would be negative for the entire industry.
He also voiced concern about "tension" between aviation regulators in different jurisdictions.
European and other foreign regulators were the first to ground the MAX before the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the primary air safety regulator for Boeing planes. FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell Wednesday told U.S. lawmakers the overseas regulators acted without data.
Boeing is working on a fix to the MAX flight control system flaw implicated in the two crashes that took place in Indonesia and Ethiopia. The accidents killed 346 people.
The FAA next week plans a meeting with foreign air safety authorities to explain how it will review the fix. Mr. Elwell said he hopes those regulators will follow the FAA's recommendation with little lag.
Airbus's Mr. Faury said the historic cooperation between its own regulator, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and the FAA has been good for companies and safety. "We need this alignment and this joint understanding on how to develop and certify planes to remain."
Mr. Faury played down the prospect of any immediate benefit to Airbus from Boeing's woes. "We don't see anything positive from the current situation," he said.
Airbus's rival A320 planes are sold out through 2023, limiting its ability to provide any to MAX customers that may want to buy other planes.
Since the MAX fleet was grounded in March, several airlines have launched competitions for single-aisle planes. Mr. Faury said it was premature to judge whether the MAX situation would have an impact on the outcome.
Demand for planes hasn't been dented by the MAX situation, he added.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 16, 2019 05:55 ET (09:55 GMT)
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