Boeing plans to outline the return of its 737 MAX jetliner to commercial service to airline industry members and analysts who have been invited by the aircraft manufacturer to meet this week in the Seattle area, China Daily reported.
“The goal is to provide industry stakeholders a firm foundation of knowledge in the technical and training updates for the 737 MAX at the appropriate point in the certification process,” Boeing said in a statement.
CNBC reported on Monday that Boeing will host the meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, and invitees don’t include the media. Boeing’s invitation, which includes a visit to Boeing’s aircraft delivery center, its MAX production facility in Renton, Washington, and flight simulators, offers to cover flight and hotel expenses.
Boeing had hoped the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would approve the plane’s return to the sky by the end of December, but that now appears unlikely. The FAA has consistently said it has set no deadline for recertifying MAX aircraft.
The 737 MAX, Boeing’s top-selling plane, has been grounded since March after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed all 346 passengers and crew on board. Investigators believe the MAX’s automated anti-stall device, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), erroneously pointed the nose of the planes down to avoid a midair stall and into a fatal plunge.
The FAA, which has been criticized for delegating much of the initial approval process to industry officials, said it will review each new 737 MAX before recertifying the plane for commercial service. The more stringent policy likely will delay the plane’s return to the air.
Boeing has updated the anti-stall software, but the FAA has not yet approved it. US airlines have removed MAX jets from their schedules through March. Airlines have lost revenue because of the grounding and scrambled to acquire older planes to meet demand.
Meawhile, low-cost airline Ryanair trimmed its passenger traffic forecast on Wednesday, saying it would cut summer capacity and an unspecified number of jobs as a result of further delays in returning Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX to service, The Globe & Mail reported.
Ryanair has scrapped planned summer operations from bases in Nuremberg and Stockholm Skavsta, as well as some flights from other bases, “solely due to delivery delays” to MAX jets on order from Boeing, the company said in a statement.
“We are continuing to work with Boeing, our people, our unions and our affected airports to minimize these capacity cuts and job losses,” Ryanair added.
According to CNBC, United Airlines announced an order for 50 long-range Airbus jets, handing another victory from a US airline to Boeing’s European rival.
The Chicago-based airline ordered 50 Airbus A321XLR planes to replace its aging Boeing 757-200s, and said that it will start to use the planes for international service in 2024.
The Chicago-based airline plans to fly the jets, single-aisle planes with extra-long range, to Europe from East Coast hubs Newark and Washington, it said in a release.
The carrier is the latest of several US airlines to opt for the planes. JetBlue and American Airlines have both agreed to order some of the long-range single-aisle planes that Airbus is developing.
Reuters also reported this week that India is considering setting an experience threshold for pilots who fly Boeing’s 737 MAX planes, as it moves to ensure safety once the aircraft returns to service, a senior official of the air safety regulator said.