Citing multiple unnamed sources, the WSJ reported that the findings are the first to come to light based on data retrieved from Flight 302's black boxes.
Preliminary findings from officials investigating the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash suggest that a flight-control feature automatically activated before the plane nose-dived into the ground, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said the consensus among investigators was revealed during a briefing at the US Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday.
Both crashes killed a combined 346 people and are being investigated by teams of worldwide experts led by the countries where the flights originated.
The U.S. planemaker, working with regulators, has spent months refining the 737 Max's software since data from the Lion Air crash indicated the stall-avoidance system had repeatedly tipped the nose down before pilots lost control.
The MCAS, which lowers the aircraft's nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed, was developed specifically for the 737 MAX, which has heavier engines than its predecessor.
"We still have confidence in the Boeing brand, but not the MAX 8 product, because the people, or our customers, have lost confidence in the product", he said, adding that he believed Boeing would support Garuda Indonesia, because, as a flag carrier, the airline was Boeing's key customer in Indonesia.
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashed minutes after takeoff in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), on March 10, 2019.
The March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board has set off one of the widest inquiries in aviation history and cast a shadow over the Boeing MAX model meant to be a standard for decades.
The initial investigation into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people on board, found that one of the AOA sensors failed but continued to transmit erroneous information to the MCAS.
TUI said it was planning for the planes to remain grounded until at least the middle of July, costing it upwards of 200 million euros ($224 million) in core profit, with "considerable uncertainty" about when the 737 MAX would return to service.
The Wall Street Journal says officials have been focusing on the anti-stall feature on the Boeing 737 Max, which crashed earlier this month - killing 157 people, including Lahinch engineer Micheál Ryan.
"No dates have yet been announced for modifications of the existing aircraft model by the manufacturer, neither for approval of such modifications by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)", the group said. But those situations were not listed in the flight manual used by American Airlines, Reuters said.