Published: Wed, January 22, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Boeing: 737 MAX likely to stay grounded through mid 2020

Boeing: 737 MAX likely to stay grounded through mid 2020

The company noted in a statement on Tuesday that "the FAA and other global regulators will determine when the 737 MAX returns to service".

The new delay comes after two recent discoveries: a software flaw that will require more work than expected and an audit that found that some wiring on the plane needs to be rerouted. Boeing's best-selling plane has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people in five months. Trading of Boeing's stock plunged more than 6% following the announcement.

There have been 340 orders for the 777X, mostly from giants such as Emirates, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Due to a reduction of space for new aircraft, Boeing has been forced to suspend deliveries of the 737 MAX.

A 737 MAX production line in Renton.

The new expectations mean that Boeing's best-selling jet would miss the busy summer travel season for the second straight year, adding to the compensation that the US planemaker is likely to pay airlines.

A statement issued by the American aircraft manufacturer today said that the 737 MAX is now expected to return to the skies in mid-2020.

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A source close to one of the wide-body jet's nine firm customers said the flight would take place on Thursday or Friday at Boeing's commercial base outside Seattle, depending on weather.

Boeing advised customers and suppliers Tuesday that it now estimates the plane will remain grounded until mid-year.

Will there be a further delay?

Next week Boeing is set to release its quarterly financial disclosures.

Boeing has pushed back its estimations for a return to service of the 737 MAX to mid-2020, confirming that the plane will remain on the ground for well over a year in total.

"We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 MAX has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers, and the flying public", the company says.

In December, FAA head Stephen Dickson told CNBC that there are 10 to 11 "milestones" to reach before the agency will allow the planes to fly again.

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