More Damage Control for Boeing as It Tells Suppliers to Halt Shipments of 737 MAX Parts

Boeing institutes more MAX 737-related damage-control measures, formally telling suppliers to halt shipments of 737 MAX parts for a month.
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Boeing (BA) - Get Report has instituted more MAX 737-related damage-control measures, formally telling suppliers to halt shipments of MAX parts for a month, just hours after ousting CEO Dennis Muilenburg and days after announcing it was halting production of the grounded plane.

The decision to halt the flow of 737 MAX parts follows a series of end-of-year maneuvers designed to mitigate both financial and public relations fallout related to two fatal 737 MAX crashes over a five-month span that killed a combined 346 people.

It started last week, when Boeing announced that the protracted crisis forced it to temporarily shut down production of the 737 AX, starting in January. Regulators repeatedly have said they have no firm timeline to allow the planes to fly again.

That was quickly followed by Boeing’s announcement on Monday that it was ousting Muilenburg.

It all caps off a pretty dismal December and 2019 for Boeing, which has been struggling all year to get its best-selling airplane, globally grounded since March, re-certified by regulators and back in the skies.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Report, the biggest user of the MAX jet, has suspended its planned use until April 13, while United Airlines (UAL) - Get Report has pushed back putting the 737 MAX back in its flight schedules until at least June.

Boeing has more than 600 suppliers. That includes General Electric (GE) - Get Report, which provides the engines for the MAX. GE has said it will be looking at an earnings hit from Boeing’s suspension of production.

To be sure, Boeing did have some positive news this week. While its highly anticipated Starliner spacecraft failed to make it to the correct orbit that would have allowed it to dock with the International Space Station, it did both enter and exit the stratosphere safely.

Shares of Boeing were down 0.43%, or $1.46 a share, at $336.09 in morning trading on Tuesday.