PanARMENIAN.Net - Boeing on Tuesday, January 22 pushed back its forecast for when regulators will clear the return of the 737 MAX to commercial service, saying it doesn't expect approval until midyear at the earliest, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The plane maker said its new estimate for the Federal Aviation Administration's signoff-which people briefed on the matter expect in June or July-takes into account the need for approving training for pilots and "experience to date with the certification process."
The global MAX fleet has been grounded since last March following two fatal crashes, with Boeing repeatedly revising when it expected regulators to approve changes to the flight-control systems implicated in the accidents, as well as new training regimes. It previously forecast the FAA would lift its flight ban and approve training by January, with the expectation that it would still take some months before the MAX again carried passengers.
The delays have extended far longer than most airlines and industry analysts expected, and leave the global passenger-jet fleet short of almost 5% of planned capacity for a second peak summer season in a row, adding to the hefty compensation Boeing owes its customers.
The latest projection isn't in response to the emergence of any new technical problems or fresh friction with regulators, according to people familiar with the matter.
The revised timetable likely would still add to Boeing's mounting bill for the MAX, pushing back the return to the air of hundreds of jets into next year and delaying the resumption of production.