FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami has indicated that the grounded 737 MAX will likely return to service in the U.S. by December, according to Bloomberg. Bahrami, speaking in an interview on Wednesday, reportedly emphasized that no timeline has yet been committed to. His remarks echo similar comments made by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg in an interview with CNBC last week.
As previously reported by AVweb, United Airlines has announced cancellations of 737 MAX flights through Aug. 3. Southwest Airlines has removed the MAX from its schedule through Sept. 2 and American Airlines has no MAX flights in its lineup until after Sept. 3. According to Muilenburg, Boeing has received no orders for the MAX since the grounding and, instead of ramping up production to a previously planned 57 MAX aircraft per month, has reduced its output from 52 to 42 aircraft a month.
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded last March after the fatal crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct. 29, 2018. Boeing recently completed work on a software update and associated internal flight testing for the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is believed to have significantly contributed the accidents. The company says it is now addressing additional question from the FAA and working toward scheduling a recertification flight.