The likelihood is increasing The Boeing Company might develop a brand new passenger jet aircraft to replace the Boeing 738 MAX 8, whose reputation was severely damaged following two horrific crashes in the space of five months that left 346 persons dead.

Boeing last week admitted a newly installed autopilot system was responsible for the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct. 29, 2018 and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg acknowledged, for the first time, that bad data feeding into an automated flight system on the ill fated MAX 8 jetliners played a role in two crashes after Ethiopian aviation officials said their investigation found no pilot error in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addid Ababa.

“But with the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 accident investigation it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information,” Muilenberg said in a statement.

“It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it,” Muilenburg added.

Muilenburg said Boeing is “deeply saddened by and are sorry for the pain these accidents have caused worldwide.” He also said the company is taking a “comprehensive” and “disciplined” approach to get the software update right.

Boeing anticipates its certification and implementation “in the weeks ahead.” Muilenburg said Boeing remains confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 Max, which have been grounded since mid-March.

Some aviation industry experts, however, claim Boeing might need a replacement for the 737 MAX series that consists of the MAX 8 and the MAX 9 to gain back people's trust. Doing this might not be feasible for Boeing given the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling plane in Boeing history.

The latest iteration of Boeing's lucrative 737 family of jetliners accounts for 80 percent of Boeing's 5,800-plane order backlog.

It's going to be an uphill battle for Boeing to restore confidence in the grounded jet.

"You can't hide the 737, you've got thousands of them of all types flying worldwide today for airlines," Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and founder of Atmosphere Research Group, told Business Insider.

He said Boeing can’t rebrand the plane because people will quickly see through this deception. Boeing is, therefore, going to either have to convince people to fly the 737 Max or build a replacement.

This means the plane that replaces the 737 will have to be a clean sheet design.

Boeing also faces a tsunami of lawsuits arising from the 737 MAX that will amount into the billions of dollars.

Last week, Boeing investors filed a class-action lawsuit in Chicago alleging Boeing defrauded its shareholders by failing to reveal potential safety shortcomings of the 737 MAX after the two fatal crashes.

Many of the families of the 346 victims of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 have filed multiple lawsuits against Boeing. On the other hand, airlines whose 371 grounded 737 MAX remain grounded have initiated compensation proceedings to collect damages from Boeing.

Industry analysts expect Boeing's mammoth legal and regulatory problems to get worse before they get better.