Boeing’s (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report currently grounded 737 MAX aircraft aren't likely to be put back into widespread use until at least early next year amid additional FAA delays in re-certifying the jets.
That according to the Wall Street Journal, which on Wednesday reported that the ill-fated aircraft isn’t likely to get the nod from FAA officials until late October or early November at the earliest, and likely closer to the end of December or early January.
Citing U.S. government and industry officials, the Journal said the agency has decided to ask for public comments before finalizing software and hardware changes. Regulators overseas could take days or weeks longer to concur in those decisions, further pushing back the re-certification process, the Journal said.
In addition, completing pilot training and maintenance checks – and obtaining final FAA approval for those tasks for individual airlines – is expected to stretch well into December, the officials told the Journal. Only then will the MAX be ready to return to commercial service.
Efforts to re-certify the planes have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, however, with FAA officials working from home and the agency facing other challenges related to scheduling U.S. and foreign pilots to participate in ground-simulator testing.
Boeing last week said it delivered a total of just 20 commercial jets during the quarter, down 78% from 90 a year ago, thanks largely to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the 20 deliveries were four 737 MAX planes, down from 24 in the previous quarter.
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