Boeing faces new pressure from pilots ahead of 2Q earnings

Boeing is not expected to reveal much on the status of the grounding of its 737 Max fleet when it reports earnings on Wednesday, but the leader of a top pilot association is already warning that the plane will not be deemed safe until the group gives the green light.

The Chicago-based manufacturer is currently working with the Federal Aviation Administration and global regulators to obtain approval for a software patch intended to fix the issues that led to two fatal crashes.

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Boeing is hoping to receive sign-off by the end of the year, but some experts are predicting the timeline could spill into 2020. Meanwhile, carriers like American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines are extending the potential for flight cancellations through early November.

Even if the FAA approves the fix, Boeing still has the difficult task of persuading the public that the beleaguered jet is safe for flight. The company has already said it will rely on pilots and other outside groups on the campaign. But one top group is upping the ante.

Eric Ferguson, who heads the Allied Pilots Association, told reporters on Tuesday that the union would provide assurances to the public on when it is safe to travel aboard the Max jet again.

"When we see Allied Pilots Association pilots operating the airplane, the flying public can be assured that it is safe to operate, we will not compromise in that area," he said.

Ferguson is demanding that Boeing inform pilots about the changes the manufacturer made to the most recent version of the popular 737 fleet, but ruled out for the time being any legal action against Boeing to recover lost wages as a result of the grounding.

The company reports second-quarter earnings on Wednesday and executives are sure to be peppered with questions on the timeline for the Max. Boeing previously said it would take a $5 billion hit due to the grounding.


The firm has slashed the number of new Max jets it is producing each month, a reduction that is set to impact carriers well into 2020.

Analysts are expecting Boeing to report profits of $1.79 per share and revenue to near $20 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.