Boeing has pushed its estimate for the when regulators will begin to unground of the 737 MAX to mid-2020, according to a statement issued by the company on Tuesday. Boeing had previously announced that it might be able to resume deliveries of the MAX as early as December 2019 with a return to service in the U.S. in January, a position that met with pushback from the FAA. With the new estimate, Boeing emphasized that its purpose is only to “help … customers and suppliers plan their operations” and that the timing of the MAX’s return will be determined by “the FAA and other global regulators.”
“This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process,” Boeing said. “It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX’s flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process which determines pilot training requirements.”
The 737 MAX 8 has been grounded since March 2019 following the fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Boeing said it will provide further information about its efforts to return the MAX to service in conjunction with its quarterly financial disclosures next week.