Boeing has sacked chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, in a bid to restore confidence in the airline company.

David Calhoun, Boeing’s current chairman, will take over as chief executive and president from January 13.

The axing comes in the wake of 737 Max airliner crashes – that lead to the jet being grounded since March 2019.

As exclusively reported by the Leader last week Boeing announced it was to stop production of the 737 Max – while awaiting for regulators to certify the jet’s safety.

“The board of directors decided that a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company moving forward as it works to repair relationships with regulators, customers, and all other stakeholders,” a statement from Boeing said.

Boeing added that Lawrence Kellner would become non-executive chairman, with immediate effect.

“Under the company’s new leadership, Boeing will operate with a renewed commitment to full transparency, including effective and proactive communication with the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) other global regulators and its customers,” said the statement.

Air safety officials investigating the tragedies identified an automated control system in the plane, known as MCAS, as a factor in the 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people.

Boeing has reportedly said the software system, which relied on a single sensor, received erroneous data, which led it to override pilot commands and push the aircraft downwards.

Boeing’s entire fleet of 737 Max planes has been grounded worldwide since March.

The company had been hoping to have the planes back in the air by the end of the year, but United States regulators said they would not be certified to return to the skies at present.

Mr Muilenburg first joined Boeing in 1985 as head of the company’s defence, space and security division.

Appointed chief executive in 2015, he stepped down from his role as Chairman of Boeing’s board of directors in October.

Last week The Leader was the first ex-pat newspaper in Spain to exclusively report Boeing was considering whether to cut or halt production of its grounded 737 Max after the Federal Aviation Administration said it would not approve the plane’s return to service before 2020.

As reported by The Leader Ryanair warned in November there was a real risk it will have no Boeing 737 Max planes flying in the 2020 summer, due to further delays to the delivery of the grounded aircraft.

Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary said the company had reduced expectation of 30, 737 Max aircraft being delivered in advance of peak summer 2020, down to 20 aircraft.

Ryanair are a major carrier of passengers to Spain – with Alicante-Elche airport a destination for thousands of visitors annually – along with Madrid.

Boeing’s reputation was further marred when its Starliner spacecraft suffered technical problems – prevented it from taking the right path to the International Space Station – last week.