Boeing predicts 737 Max will fly again by the end of 2019

Planemaker blamed for Indonesian crash that killed 189


Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 23 October 2019 19:18 BST
Ground stop: the Boeing 737 Max has not flown commercially since March 2019
Ground stop: the Boeing 737 Max has not flown commercially since March 2019 (AP)

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The beleaguered planemaker, Boeing, has predicted that its 737 Max aircraft will return to service by the end of the year.

The plane was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two fatal crashes that claimed 346 victims.

An anti-stall system called MCAS was blamed for both tragedies.

The company has been working to find a solution that will satisfy regulators around the world.

In its third-quarter results, Boeing reported profits of $895m (£695m) on revenue of $20bn (£15.5bn) – less than half the earnings compared with a year earlier.

The figures cover the three months from July to September.

Boeing has said it is expecting that “regulatory approval of the 737 Max return to service will begin in the fourth quarter of 2019 and that it will gradually increase the 737 production rate from 42 per month to 57 per month by late 2020.”

Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing, said: “Our top priority remains the safe return to service of the 737 Max, and we’re making steady progress”.

Boeing has also announced that the first of a new version of its highly successful long-haul 777, to be known as the 777X, will not be delivered until early 2021 – later than expected.

The planemaker will also reduce the monthly production rate of its 787 “Dreamliner” from 14 to 12 from late 2020 as a result of an expected global drop in demand.

Separately, family members of the victims of the Lion Air crash on 29 October 2019 have been given advance notice of the final accident report.

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee is expected to release the report into the tragedy, which claimed 189 victims, on Friday.

It blames Boeing for installing the MCAS system without properly briefing pilots about its existence, purpose and potential problems.The report also criticises maintenance procedures at Lion Air.

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