MAX Return Pushed Back Again


There appears to be widespread agreement that the Boeing 737 MAX won’t return to service until at least the early part of 2020 as regulators and the company struggle to come up with solutions to a variety of problems that have been flagged in the process to make the aircraft airworthy. United and American Airlines say they won’t put the type back in their schedules until at least Nov. 2, two months later than they’d hoped, but The Wall Street Journal says the consensus is that’s optimistic. January 2020 is the earliest most industry people believe the MAX will carry paying passengers.

Meanwhile, the FAA continues to say that there is no timeline for the return to service while Boeing predicts the aircraft will be ready sometime in the fall. It has said it will have all the fixes ready for certification before it asks for them to be approved. Even though the MAX makes up a relatively small part of the overall fleet, its grounding has put a strain on the airlines that were flying it and even some that were not. Last week WestJet’s budget carrier Swoop, which does not fly the MAX, had to cancel 30 flights when one of its 737-800s had maintenance issues. The carrier couldn’t find a replacement aircraft because of the tight lease market for 737 NG aircraft caused by the MAX grounding.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Maybe I’m in the minority on this one but I believe the MAX grounding has gone on long enough. Now it’s at the point of kicking them while there down which seems to happen a lot in life. We all know the airplane had a serious problem and yes it shouldn’t have been allowed to occur and two horrible accidents were the result but the systems have been corrected and tested by Boeing, airline crews and any other interested parties with a legitimate reason to have a say in it. It’s time to resume flying the MAX and get on with it. I mean, are the affected airline crews trained professionals or not? There are no guarantees in life and I can understand why certain groups are being hesitant but not the pilots. Enough, your competent to fly it or your not. It just seems that now they’re looking for perfection and that’ll never happen.