Kevin McAllister, Head of Commercial Aircraft at Boeing, apologised for the two crashes of 737 MAX jets that together killed 346 people.

He made the apology at the opening of the Paris Air Show, where safety had been pushed to the top of the agenda following the disasters.

“We are very sorry for the loss of lives as a result of the tragic accidents… our thoughts and our prayers are with their families. Our priority is doing everything to get this plane safely returned to service. It is a pivotal moment for all of us,” McAllister said.

Boeing faced a barrage of questions over it’s handling of the 737 MAX disasters, thought to be caused by a faulty MCAS anti-stall system.

Critics accuse Boeing of failing to sufficiently test a system that used just one sensor to determine if the 737 was at risk of stalling, and of failing to adequately inform and train pilots.

Reports also suggest that US safety regulators allowed Boeing engineers to self-certify the system, prompting worries of insufficient oversight at the planemaker.

McAllister said a planned fix for the anti-stall software would use two sensors, but it had yet to submit its proposal to regulators, who had grounded the plane indefinitely.

“We are very confident that the three layers of protection we are planning with the software update will prevent anything like this happening again,” he said.

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