FAA Chief Steve Dickson’s assertion that approval for the 737 MAX’s return to service will not occur in December put Boeing in a tricky situation. The planemaker was waiting for the agency’s authorization so that at least the planes could be delivered to its customers in order to empty their plant for new jets being produced.
However, with no prospects of granting such a permit, Boeing would be considering reducing production or even suspending it, according to the Seattle Times. A meeting between the company’s boarding has been taking place in Chicago since Sunday and an official announcement is expected on Monday.
Suspending assembly of the 737 MAX is a drastic measure and is being avoided at all costs by the company. The reason is that this option undermines the entire production chain of the company and its suppliers, and takes time to put into practice.
For the FAA, it is still too early to think about the return the 737 MAX service as there are several steps to be completed by Boeing and the agency is in the midst of investigating issues within the jet assembly line at Renton
The position of the US civil aviation agency came after Boeing announced it expected to resume deliveries in December and was considered a form of public pressure for the FAA to make the decision quickly.
The FAA suggested that approval could only take place in February or March, which would push the return of the 737 MAX to service in the second quarter of 2020. American Airlines, for example, has already rescheduled the return of its fleet to April 6.
Boeing currently produces 42 737 MAX units per month and had plans to increase production to 57 aircraft before grounding in March.