Boeing is finalizing details with the authorities to return to the airspace the fleet of the 737 MAX, paralyzed in almost all the world after two accidents, and studies to compensate some of the airlines that have interrupted their plans for the summer season.
This was indicated on Wednesday by CEO of the firm, Dennis Muilenburg, in a business forum organized in New York by the financial analysis firm Bernstein, where he reported “solid progress” in the face of the review that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US has to make the device.
The aircraft manufacturer “clearly understands” that the “common link” between the accidents of the 610 flights of Lion Air, in October 2018, and 302 of Ethiopian, in March 2019, which caused almost 350 deaths, was the software of flight control known as MCAS, and a couple of weeks ago an improvement that must pass through the authorities.
“We have completed the engineering and flight test with the software (improved) and we are in the process of requesting the final certification, we are ending that dialogue with the FAA, working on a series of questions and answers, and once that is finished, we will schedule a recertification flight, that will be the next step for the plane to be back in service” Muilenburg cried.
He also revealed that in recent weeks the company has been working with airlines in their “preparation for the return to service” of aircraft in cities with high traffic airports such as Miami, Singapore, Moscow or Tokyo.
The executive said that Boeing is focused on “getting approval” from the authorities so that the 737 MAX fly again, “without specific dates”, but considered the meeting that the FAA held with 30 regulators of all the world last week in Texas, where they asked “extensive questions” to be “another sign of progress”.
“There is still work, but it was key to establish with the regulators what is required in recertification and return to service, and for a debate on the training requirements and capabilities, such as computer training, with simulators …” he explained.
As on other occasions, Muilenburg expressed his condolences to the victims of accidents, acknowledged that “public confidence has been damaged” and was willing to resolve the crisis “taking all necessary actions”, including compensating the airlines.
“We have talked with clients about how we can tackle these problems, in some cases through fleet positioning, in other training support services, or other currencies that we can trade valuable to them, in some cases the cash can be part of the solution” he said.
He specified that these options are shuffled “individually” with each airline and pointed out that in any case it will not mean investing “an additional material force” on the part of the company, but “attention”.
The executive said he expects international authorities to “line up” with the FAA when he approves his evaluation of the improved aircraft, but he assumed that other countries “may have a different schedule” and Boeing has to “adjust” their plans to all of this.
He also acknowledged, in terms of aircraft deliveries, that due to the inconvenience some customers “will want to disengage” from what was ordered while others will want to “speed up” the receipt, so there will be “a lot of movement” and the firm will try to “adapt” to the different needs. ”
Muilenburg, who insisted several times that Boeing is going through a “defining moment,” maintained that the long-term prospects for the business have not changed, nor has the demand for the 737 MAX, so without having a firm timetable for its normal operation, expected to accelerate production later.
Aeronautics slowed the monthly production of the 737 MAX from 52 units to 42 at the beginning of April to cope with the halt in deliveries to its customers, a pace with which it seeks “stability in the supply chain”.
“Once the fleet returns to flying, then we will return to our plan to increase the pace in a disciplined manner, I do not want to say a specific date because we focus on safety, but we have the long-term perspective of accelerating again to 57 a month”, said the executive, who says that the demand profile remains.
He made reference to the global fleet that operates Boeing and the market outlook, since “43,000 new aircraft are needed in the next 20 years, and all that from the point of view of demand is an opportunity to increase the pace of production” .