Boeing is still on track to resume deliveries of its troubled 737 MAX jets in the third quarter amid reports that the recertification flight for that jet will take place later this month.
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Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Boeing is aiming to host regulators on a recertification flight later this month, which would test the jet’s upgraded systems.
Bernard Choi, Boeing’s senior director for International Communications, declined to comment on the timing of the certification flight but did confirm that there has been no change to the goal set by Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun during a first-quarter earnings call.
“We've continued to make very solid progress, and we currently expect that the necessary regulatory approvals will be obtained in time to support resumption of 737 MAX deliveries during the third quarter,” Calhoun said. “Of course, the actual timing will ultimately be determined by our regulators.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it has been coordinating with Boeing as the company tries to reach recertification standards.
“The FAA is in regular contact with Boeing as the company continues its work on the 737 MAX. The manufacturer must demonstrate compliance with all certification standards,” the agency said in a statement. “The aircraft will be cleared for return to passenger service only after the FAA is satisfied that all safety-related issues are addressed.”
The 737 MAX hasn’t flown since March 2019 when it was grounded due to two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. Boeing has been trying to fix a software glitch implicated in those two crashes as well as a slew of other problems.
The company did restart production of the 737 MAX last month after halting it in January.
Even if Boeing does reach its goal of getting the jets back to the market in the third quarter, it will be returning to a travel industry wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic. Boeing has already been feeling those effects, as it reported 150 canceled orders for the 737 MAX in March, 108 canceled orders in April, and 14 canceled orders in May.
Despite the reports of progress with regulators, Boeing stock still closed down 6.15 percent for the day.