American plane maker Boeing said its crisis-hit 737 MAX jet will likely remain grounded worldwide at least until mid-2020 as the company works to convince global regulators, airline customers and the flying public that the plane, which suffered two crashes killing 346 people, is safe to fly.
The company issued a statement Tuesday (21 January), saying Boeing recognised “the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and other global regulators will determine when the 737 MAX returns to service”, a statement made necessary by previous missteps by the company’s former CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who was criticised by the FAA for trying to force the agency’s hand in approving the MAX’s return to flight.
- Viewpoint: Boeing keeps digging the hole deeper.
- Read Calhoun’s email to Boeing Employees
- New Boeing chief executive: plane maker can be ‘much better’
- Boeing Suppliers Shift the Balance of Power, One Deal at a Time
- Mnuchin says Boeing’s woes will slow U.S. growth in 2020
- With Boeing’s Integrity in Doubt, New CEO Vows to Rebuild Trust
- As New CEO Takes Charge, Boeing’s Challenges Remain
The company added: “We are informing our customers and suppliers that we are currently estimating that the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020. This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process. It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX’s flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process which determines pilot training requirements.”
Boeing said in its statement “returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen. 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.”
Boeing said it would provide additional information when it announces its quarterly financial disclosures, which is scheduled for 29 January.