Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX jet is expected to remain grounded until at least August as the manufacturer continues to grapple with software program points, said people briefed on the matter.
The largest plane manufacturer has signaled it now hopes to win regulatory approval in August for the plane’s return to service, but that could possibly be pushed backed until fall, the sources stated, as the timing for meeting milestones is uncertain.
The best-selling airplane has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people. Boeing halted manufacturing in January and has 400 undelivered MAX planes in storage.
Southwest Airlines, the biggest operator of 737 MAX airplanes worldwide, stated Tuesday it was removing the MAX from its schedule through October 30 based mostly on Boeing’s “latest communication on the MAX return to service date.”
Last week, a key certification test flight had been delayed until late May at the earliest, and in early April the corporate was dealing with two new software issues.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has frequently said it has no timetable for approving the plane’s return to the skies.
Boeing declined to comment ahead of its earnings release Wednesday. On Monday, Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun during the firm’s annual meeting didn’t repeat prior guidance that Boeing anticipated the aircraft would win approval for a return to service in mid-2020.