On Tuesday, Boeing signed its first deal for the 737 MAX jet since the deadly crashes that led to a temporary ban of the plane's use in the U.S. and global airspace at the Paris Air Show.
Continue Reading Below
Months after the crashes, the company's chief executive admitted Boeing made a “mistake” in how it handled the controversy which continues to unfold.
FOX Business takes a look at the developments in the following timeline which examines how the company addressed the tragedy and how it is attempting to move forward with the 737 MAX jet, once considered its most promising new plane.
August 30, 2011
Boeing publicly announces the 737 MAX that, according to then-Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh, "will deliver improved fuel efficiency and lowest operating costs in a single-aisle market."
"This, coupled with industry-leading reliability and maintainability, is what customers have told us they want. As a result, we are seeing overwhelming demand for this new and improved version of the 737. We are working with our customers to finalize these and other agreements in the weeks and months ahead."
December 8, 2015
Boeing rolls out its first 737 MAX jet in Renton, Washington with a goal of a first flight the following year.
According to the press release announcing the launch, "The new single-aisle airplane will deliver 20 percent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737s and the lowest operating cost."
January 29, 2016
737 MAX performs its first flight.
Pictured here is an artist's rendering of a 737 MAX 9. (Boeing)
May 16, 2017
Boeing marked the first delivery of the new 737 MAX. The airplane, a 737 MAX 8, was handed over to Malindo Air at the Seattle Delivery Center. The Malaysia-based airline will be the first to put the 737 MAX into commercial service.
October 29, 2018
A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from an airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.
November 6, 2018
Boeing details what pilots should do if a sensor failure erroneously triggers an automated flight-control system called MCAS that may cause the plane to pitch downward, a scenario suspected in the Lion Air crash.
Boeing's bulletin provides the first description of MCAS, which pilots and airlines had previously been unaware of, according to reports.
November 13, 2018
In a FOX Business exclusive, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company plans to continue to “fully cooperate” in the investigation into last month’s fatal Lion Air Crash in Indonesia.
January 31, 2019
Despite the crash, Boeing reportedly has 5,011 orders for the new 737 MAX from 79 customers through the end of January.
March 10, 2019
An Ethiopian Air flight crashes shortly after takeoff on its way from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all 157 people on board. The circumstances of this crash were similar to Lion Air.
March 12, 2019
A number of countries around the world close their airspace to the Boeing 737 MAX planes, with Canada and the U.S. remaining key holdouts. Aviation regulators in China, Indonesia, Australia and Europe are among those banning the plane. The FAA releases a statement noting that it will not ground the 737 MAX. Amid the crisis, President Trump weighs in via a tweet, stating planes have become "too far complex" but stops short of mentioning Boeing by name.
March 13, 2019
Following analysis of the new Ethiopian Air crash data, the FAA issues an emergency order, temporarily banning the aircraft from flying in the U.S. or entering its airspace, citing "new evidence" from the Ethiopian Airlines crash. FAA concluded that it saw similarities between the two crashes based on recently analyzed satellite data and evidence investigators found in the wreckage in Ethiopia.
Boeing also releases a statement saying it remains confident in the aircraft's safety but recommends a temporary suspension of operations of the global fleet.
March 17, 2019
Information retrieved from the "black boxes" of the Ethiopian Airlines crash shows "clear similarities" to the October Lion Air crash. A Seattle Times report revealed that deadline pressure prodded the FAA and Boeing to delegate more safety decisions to the plane maker's engineers working on behalf of the FAA.
March 18, 2019
The Wall Street Journal reports that a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a broad subpoena dated March 11 to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX’s development, seeking related documents, including correspondence, emails, and other messages.
March 19, 2019
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao called for her agency’s internal watchdog to open an inquiry into the process the department followed to certify the Boeing 737 MAX, saying that “safety is the top priority of the department.”
March 20, 2019
It is reported that the FBI has joined the DOT's criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing's 737 MAX. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) also announces he will hold a Commerce subcommittee hearing to examine the government's oversight of the jet.
March 27, 2019
Boeing unveils new fixes to the MCAS software system and says it plans to send the software updates and new plans for pilot training to the FAA for approval by the end of the week.
March 29, 2019
The investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash reaches a preliminary conclusion that the MCAS "activated before the plane nose-dived into the ground," according to a Wall Street Journal report.
April 1, 2019
FAA says Boeing is expected to submit its proposal for new fixes to the MCAS software system "over the coming weeks," emphasizing more time is needed "for additional work" to ensure that Boeing "has identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues."
Upon receiving the fix, the FAA said it will "subject Boeing's completed submission to a rigorous safety review ... [and] will not approve the software for installation until the agency is satisfied with the submission."
April 4, 2019
Boeing says it has identified an additional software issue the FAA will require to be repaired before the planes are cleared to fly again. It characterizes the newly detected issue as "relatively minor," but the Washington Post reports the problem is still classified as "critical for safety."
April 5, 2019
Boeing announces plans to cut MAX production by 20 percent, to 42 aircraft per month.
May 5, 2019
Boeing said it knew of a safety alert flaw in the cockpit of its 737 MAX jetliners months before the first of 2 fatal crashes involving the now-grounded aircraft, but it didn't immediately notify regulators.
May 9, 2019
Bloomberg interviewed a handful of former Boeing employees who described a corporate culture that prioritizes cost-cutting and profitability over reporting plane defects to upper management.
May 14, 2019
A preliminary conclusion from an internal FAA review has "tentatively determined that senior agency officials didn't participate in or monitor crucial safety assessments" of the MCAS system, per the Wall Street Journal.
May 29, 2019
The head of Boeing acknowledged that the company "clearly fell short" in dealing with the accident-ridden 737 MAX and said that it had not adequately communicated with regulators.
Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg's remarks to CBS News -- his first interview since the global grounding of the plane following two crashes that claimed 346 lives.
Muilenburg was pressed by CBS about failing to notify the FAA for more than a year that the company had deactivated a signal designed to advise the crew of a disagreement between the plane's "angle of attack" sensors, which measure its angle vis-a-vis oncoming air to warn of impending stalls.
The sensors provide data to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, a flight handling system connected to the deadly crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines MAXs.
June 2, 2019
U.S. air-safety regulators said nearly 150 parts inside the wings of more than 310 of Boeing 737 jets, including grounded MAX models, may be defective and need to be replaced.
June 7, 2019
Reports suggest that Boeing planned to wait three years to fix a nonworking safety alert on its 737 Max aircraft and sped up the process only after the first of two deadly crashes involving the planes.
The company acknowledged that it originally planned to fix a cockpit warning light in 2020 after two key U.S. lawmakers disclosed the company's timetable Friday.
Reps. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) wrote to Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration and asked why the company took more than a year to tell the safety agency and airlines that the alert did not work on Max jets.
The feature, called an angle of attack alert, warns pilots when sensors measuring the up-or-down pitch of a plane's nose relative to oncoming air might be wrong.
June 9, 2019
American Airlines announces it is extending cancellations for the 737 MAX through Setpember 3, 2019
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.||33.08||-0.66||-1.96%|
June 11, 2019
Boeing said Tuesday that it delivered 30 commercial airliners in May, a 56% drop from a year ago, when 68 jets were delivered. Deliveries of 737s dropped from 47 last year to just eight last month, all of which were an older model of the jet.
The Chicago-based company has 4,550 unfulfilled orders for the Max, but stopped deliveries after regulators around the world grounded the jets following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
June 12, 2019
FAA official says 737 MAX could be back in the air by December.
It’s not possible to give an exact date as work progresses on safety fixes to the aircraft, said Ali Bahrami, the Federal Aviation Administration’s associate administrator for aviation safety, in an interview Wednesday at a conference in Cologne, Germany.
June 13, 2019
Southwest Airlines joins AA in removing the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule through the start of September.
|LUV||SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.||52.02||-0.42||-0.80%|
June 16, 2019
Boeing’s chief executive said on Sunday that the company made a “mistake” in how it handled a cockpit warning light on the 737 Max. Dennis Muilenburg, the executive, made the comments while addressing reporters on the eve of the Paris Air Show. Mr. Muilenburg also said the company’s “inconsistent” communication with regulators and customers about the warning light was “unacceptable."
June 17, 2019
Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith revealed the possibility of a name change for the 737 MAX while speaking to Bloomberg on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.
Boeing executives later pushed back on this report.
June 18, 2019
It's reported that Boeing Co. ended a two-month drought of orders for its airliners in the wake of the grounding of its 737 MAX fleet, by securing a commitment from Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. and Air Lease Corp. to buy 787 Dreamliners. Previously, Boeing had not announced any new sales since late March, shortly after its bestselling jet, the 737 Max, was grounded.
Additionally, International Airlines Group announced plans to buy 200 737 MAX jets in a deal valued at $24 billion.
*Sources compiled from FOX Business' reporting as well as major news outlets including The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and others.