Boeing denies deactivating 737 MAX safety feature

Boeing's CEO has promised to win back the trust of the public during a tense press conference on Monday.

Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg also denied media reports it had failed to inform airlines of changes made to safety features on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Muilenburg said Boeing did not "intentionally or otherwise" deactivate a safety alert for its angle-of-attack sensors on its 737 MAX aircraft, responding to reports the plane maker failed to tell Southwest Airlines and the US aviation regulator that the safety feature was deactivated before recent crashes.

Two of Boeing's 737 MAX 8's crashed within months of each other killing a total of 346 passengers.

"The disagree alert was tied or linked into the angle of attack indicator, which is an optional feature on the MAX. Unless an airline opted for the angle of attack indicator, the disagree alert was not operable," Boeing said in a statement. 

It said the disagree alert is not necessary for the safe operation of the airplane. The company said following software modifications all new MAX aircraft will have an activated and operable disagree alert and an optional angle of attack indicator, while current MAX airplanes will have the ability to activate the disagree alert.