Daily Management Review

Boeing’s Grounded 737 Max Planes Will Not Fly Again Till Mid-Year


The Boeing 737 Max planes are not likely to return back to commercial flight until the middle of the year, the United States based airplane maker said. It added that this was because of new possible developments in the safety certification process as well as greater regulatory scrutiny on the flight control system of the planes.
Information about its new estimated time frame has been conveyed to airlines and suppliers, Boeing said. This new time frame is longer than what the company had previously forecast and also takes into account new anticipated pilot training requirements.
According to reports published last week, the time needed to approve the plane was being pushed back by regulators. Markets expected the planes to return to commercial services by February or March which would have been a year since the planes were grounded globally.
Their flights involving the 737 Max planes were scheduled to early June by American Airlines Group Inc , United Airlines Holdings Inc and Southwest Airlines Co – the three US airlines that operate the 737 MAX planes based on an anticipated regulatory approval for the planes in the first quarter. However that time line is likely to be extended by the airlines again. After the United States Federal Aviation Administration grants permission to return the planes to air, airlines could take at least 30 days to reinstate the planes in flights. This is because of the time that is needed to get the planes ready for flight and for training of pilots.
The 737 MAX flight control system and software has been updated by the Chicago-based plane maker so that it is able to take case of the issues that are believed to be behind the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia involving the planes within a span of just 5 months from each other. A total of 346 people were killed in the two accidents.
"Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen," Boeing said in a statement. "We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 MAX has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers, and the flying public."
More information on the issue would be provided by the company when it releases its quarterly results next week.
It is following a "thorough, deliberate process to verify that all proposed modifications to the Boeing 737 MAX meet the highest certification standards," the FAA said in a statement on Tuesday. Review of Boeing’s work is being conducted by the agency together with other air safety regulators, the FAA said and added that no time frame for the planes to return to air has been set by it.
Starting this month, Boeing has halted production of its 737 Max planes after announcing the decision in December after the company realized that it would take longer to get safety approval for the 737 Max planes.