Boeing Co. said it may be able to resume deliveries of the grounded 737 Max as soon as next month, depending on the successful completion of a series of milestones with U.S. regulators.
Government certification of a redesign of the Max’s flight-control software is expected by mid-December, Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in an email. That would potentially enable the planemaker to begin shipping the jets, which it has stashed across the Pacific Northwest and Texas during a global grounding that began in March after two fatal crashes.
The Max won’t be cleared to resume commercial flights until regulators sign off on updated training material for pilots. Boeing expects to gain the approval for the training requirements in January, Johndroe said.
On news of the potential for the 737 Max deliveries to resume next month, Boeing shares reversed losses after the statement was issued, rising 3.9% to $364.70 at 12:20 p.m. in New York. The gain was the second-largest on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Monday’s news of the 737 Max follows Friday’s announcement by Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc., which said they will remove the 737 Max from their flight schedules through early March—almost a year since Boeing’s best-selling jet was grounded worldwide after the two deadly crashes.
The plan to pull the plane from Southwest’s schedule through March 6 is due to “continued uncertainty around the timing of Max return to service,” the carrier said in a regulatory filing Friday. American followed suit within hours, saying it expected to resume commercial flights with the aircraft on March 5.
The chief executive officers of both airlines have signaled rising frustration with the worsening delays afflicting the Max, as Boeing seeks to win safety regulators’ approval for the plane to resume flights. The jetliner was grounded March 13, after accidents at Indonesia’s Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines killed 346 people.
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