Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg was pummeled with calls to resign, attacks on his integrity and condemnation of a flight-control system linked to two fatal 737 Max crashes as he gave two days of often-contentious testimony in the U.S. Congress.

Missing from the proceedings, however, were blockbuster revelations likely to delay the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s final review of whether the Max can safely return to the skies after a grounding of more than seven months -- a crucial question for Boeing investors and the embattled CEO.

Muilenburg’s appearance was “all about making sure Boeing looked contrite and ready to work with regulators and to reinforce the idea that the Max is getting close to getting back into service,” said George Ferguson, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “And it looks like he did that.”

Having weathered two days of grilling in Congress, the CEO’s next test will be to win U.S. recertification of the Max by year-end as he has repeatedly promised. Failure to meet that deadline, will roil airline customers, undermine public confidence in the jet and put Muilenburg’s job further at risk.

As Boeing pushes to get the plane flying again, Muilenburg fielded questions about the jet from furious lawmakers in a five-hour appearance Wednesday. For the first time, he publicly detailed errors in the design and communications around the software linked to both crashes. And he expressed regret over Boeing’s response after a Lion Air jetliner fell from the sky on Oct. 30, 2018 -- a tragedy that repeated itself less than five months later in Ethiopia.

“If we knew then what we know now, we would have grounded after the first accident,” Muilenburg told a House of Representatives committee. “If we could have saved one life, we would have done it.”

Boeing fell less than 1% to $346.06 at the close in New York after climbing on Tuesday as Muilenburg testified in the Senate. That left the shares slightly higher at the end of the CEO’s stint on Capitol Hill than they had been at the beginning, as investors were reassured for the moment that the Max’s return didn’t face big new obstacles.

Tense Hearings

In hearings that were at times angry, emotional and technical, Muilenburg worked to salvage Boeing’s reputation and save his job.

Directors at the company stripped him of his chairman’s role earlier this month and ousted Kevin McAllister, the head of the commercial aircraft division. The crashes and global grounding have been unprecedented for an advanced jetliner and have cost Boeing more than $9 billion so far.

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