Boeing Predicts ‘Mid-2020’ For MAX Return, WS Adjusts Sked

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

The bad news keeps piling up for Boeing. The aircraft manufacturer now says it does not expect its 737 MAX plane to return to the skies before the summer.

The jet has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes. Just a few short months ago Boeing said it expected the planes to be recertified before the end of 2019. But since then the news has been all bad. In December, Boeing announced plans to halt MAX production, last week it confirmed it had found a new problem in the software.

Boeing shares dropped by more than 5% Tuesday on the news, prompting the New York Stock Exchange to temporarily halt trading until the company gave a formal update. The MAX grounding is estimated to have cost Boeing in the neighbourhood of US$9 billion to date.

Boeing has been working on fixes to try to get MAX flying again, but the company has struggled to convince regulators that the planes are safe to fly.

In response to Boeing’s comments, WestJet has removed its 13 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from its schedule through 24JUN, 2020.. Any affected guests will be proactively contacted once work is complete. 

"We thank our guests for their patience and our WestJetters for their commitment to keeping our airline moving safely and on time as we continue to adjust our schedule," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. 

We remain confident in the regulatory process undertaken by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and Transport Canada to ensure the safe return of the aircraft."

Boeing says its latest prediction of "mid-2020" for the MAX return was "informed by our experience to date with the certification process.”

"Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen."

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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