Boeing shares turned positive late Friday after Reuters reported that Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson is telling senior U.S. airline officials that the FAA could approve the troubled Boeing 737 MAX's return to service before mid-year, sooner than the planemaker's latest guidance issued earlier this week.
Shares of the aerospace giant turned positive on an otherwise down day for the broader markets, climbing nearly 2% to $323.50.
FAA approval before mid-year could only happen if Boeing continues to make complete and thorough submissions, Reuters said, citing a government official who emphasized that unforeseen issues could always potentially delay approval.
The FAA confirmed that Dickson is making calls "to reiterate that the FAA has set no time frame for completion of certification work on the aircraft." The agency also said it is "pleased with Boeing’s progress in recent weeks towards achieving key milestones."
On Tuesday Boeing said that it didn't expect regulators to sign off on the troubled 737 MAX until mid-2020, months later than the manufacturer previously expected.
The 737 MAX was grounded last year after two fatal crashes killed hundreds of people. Last month Boeing ousted its CEO over his handling of the crisis and suspended production of the plane.
Boeing's new CEO, Dave Calhoun, said Wednesday that he wants the company to resume production of the 737 Max months before regulators sign off on the planes and airlines prepare to return them to service.
“We got to get that line started up again,” he said. “And the supply chain will be reinvigorated even before that.”
Boeing shares had been falling earlier on Friday following news that the company is considering another cut to 787 Dreamliner production due to sluggish demand.
The Chicago plane maker is contemplating whether to cut Dreamliner output to 10 per month from 12, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. In October, Boeing trimmed its output of the plane, making a potential second cut worrisome to investors.