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Boeing Finds New Software Issue With 737 MAX

Boeing finds a new software problem with the 737 MAX airliner, but says the issue will not stop the company from getting the plane back into the air in mid-2020.

Boeing  (BA) - Get Free Report discovered a new software problem with its 737 MAX airliner, but the Chicago aerospace giant said the issue would not stop it from getting the plane back into the air in mid-2020.

At last check Boeing shares were up 4.1% to $342.91.

The 737 MAX was grounded last year after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

Boeing said in a statement that it had informed the Federal Aviation Administration about the issue during the week of Jan. 20. The company also said it had informed its airline customers.   

"During flight testing of the 737 MAX’s updated software, an indicator light associated with the stabilizer trim system illuminated in the flight deck," the statement said. 

"We determined that the illumination of this light was caused by differences in input data between the flight control computers. This is a result of the FCC cross compare redundancy software update issued in June 2019."

Boeing said that it was "incorporating a change to the 737 MAX software prior to the fleet returning to service to ensure that this indicator light only illuminates as intended."

"Our current schedule assessment indicates that this change will not impact the present mid-2020 estimate for return to service," the statement said.

The FAA and Boeing said in January they were reviewing a wiring issue that could potentially cause a short circuit.

Regarding wire bundles, Boeing said that "we continue to perform the appropriate analysis including lab testing, fleet data assessment and third party reviews."

"It would be premature to speculate as to whether this analysis will lead to any design changes," the statement continued. 

"We are giving the technical team the time and resources they need to complete this analysis. Our data and analysis will be presented to the FAA so they can make a determination.”

The head of the FAA, Steve Dickson, told reporters in London that a certification flight for the grounded jet could occur in the next few weeks, according to Bloomberg.

He said international air safety regulators were likely to agree on the design fixes needed to return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service, Reuters reported.

Last month, Dickson told senior U.S. airline officials that the FAA could approve the return of the aircraft before midyear, earlier than Boeing suggested. 

However, he told reporters in London that "there is no time frame, I don’t think it’s helpful to get out there with time frames or timelines,” according to Reuters

“For Boeing’s part, what I have been encouraging is to not make public announcements,” he said.