Internal Boeing documents show employees discussing efforts to manipulate safety regulators

Boeing 737 Max

A Boeing 737. | David Ryder Getty Images

In a shift Tuesday, the company said that it is recommending that pilots undergo simulator training before they resume flying the 737 Max.

"This airplane is designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys", one employee wrote.

In a May 2018 message, another member of staff said: "I still haven't been forgiven by God for the covering up I did previous year".

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On Friday, the board approved a $1.4 million annual salary for Calhoun and long-term compensation of $26.5 million if he achieves several milestones, including the return to service of the 737 Max.

Boeing Co's new chief executive, David Calhoun, assumed the job on Monday as the USA planemaker battles to recover from two fatal crashes of 737 Max planes that killed 346 people in five months and led to the model's worldwide grounding in March.

US House transportation committee chairman, Peter DeFazio - who has been investigating the 737 Max - said the communications "show a coordinated effort dating back to the earliest days of the 737 Max programme to hide critical information from regulators and the public". Boeing went to great lengths to prevent such a requirement, in part because it would be costly for its customers, company documents show.

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A source close to Calhoun said on Sunday it was important employees saw the emails, which Boeing last week described as "completely unacceptable".

In the archived communications logs, employees openly discuss selling their airline clients on the idea that pilots who already fly the 737 wouldn't need special training for the 737 Max. One unnamed Boeing employee said that Lion Air would only need simulator training for the new fleet of aircraft due to their "stupidity". Boeing will not allow that to happen.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said "these communications suggest a troubling disregard for safety among some at Boeing and raise questions about the efficacy of FAA's oversight of the certification process".

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After Calhoun was selected, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a December note it had "mixed feelings" in light of Calhoun's background. In another exchange, two unidentified employees agreed that they would not put their families on a Max. The release of the communications prompted the FAA to issue a statement on Friday clarifying that although it found the tone and content of the messages "disappointing", agency experts had reviewed the documents and uncovered no safety risks not previously identified during the FAA's ongoing review of proposed modifications to the MAX.

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