Boeing believes it could resume deliveries of its grounded 737 MAX model as early as December, according to a progress report released by the company on Monday. The report also outlined five key milestones the company needs to reach with the FAA before the aircraft returns to service in the U.S. The first, an FAA eCab simulator certification session, was completed last week. Boeing emphasized that it is still targeting the final quarter of 2019 for certification of the aircraft’s updated flight control software.
“Based on this schedule, it is possible that the resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, after certification, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order,” Boeing said. “In parallel, we are working towards final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the MAX returns to commercial service, and which we now expect to begin in January.”
The milestones still to be accomplished include a “multi-day simulator session with airline pilots to assess human factors and crew workload,” an FAA certification flight test, submission of the “final certification deliverables and artifacts” to the FAA and a simulator training evaluation by the Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB). Last week, both Southwest and American Airlines pushed the expected return to service dates for their MAXs to March 2020. The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after the fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.