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Boeing Eyes a May Restart for 737 MAX

March 26, 2020
Manufacturing and assembly of the narrow-body commercial jets were suspended in January, but now the OEM also is dealing with the widening effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on its operations and supply chain.

The Boeing Co is making plans to resume production for its idles 737 MAX program by May, according to reports citing unnamed company sources. Boeing halted deliveries for its best-selling aircraft nearly one year ago, following a second fatal crash over a six-month period.  It stopped production for the twin-engine, narrow-body jets in January this year.

In addition to stopping production and deliveries, the 737 MAX is waiting for Federal Aviation Administration clearance to resume commercial service.

Aviation safety authorities in Europe and elsewhere also are required to clear the aircraft to resume flying. The two crashes have been attributed to a defective flight-control software installed in the 737 MAX, which is being reviewed by FAA and the European Air Safety Administration, and other safety agencies

FAA, EASA, and the other agencies are working with Boeing to document and test a new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software before approving the resumption of passenger service.

In addition to the regulatory and safety issues, Boeing is working to manage operational disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic — which has caused the OEM to stop production at its Puget Sound area in Washington State. That outage started March 25 and will remain effective for two weeks, according to Boeing.

Widespread disruptions at multiple Boeing suppliers also affect numerous 737 MAX program suppliers.

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