Boeing Shares Jump with Update on 737 Max

Shares in Boeing  jumped by 5% with the news that the company’s 737 Max aircraft is moving closer to a return to commercial service.

Boeing has said that it ‘could’ begin delivery of the aircraft to customers in December.

Two fatal air crashes involving the 737 Max resulted in the aircraft being grounded.

Lion Air flight 610 crashed in Indonesia last October killing 189 people; Ethiopian Airlines 302 crashed in March of this year killing 157 people.

Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) were severely criticized in the wake of the accidents for insisting the planes were safe.

Boeing has said that while the FAA and other regulatory authorities will determine the timing of certification and return to commercial service, it continues to target FAA certification of the MAX flight control software.

The aircraft manufacturer has said that based on its current schedule the resumption of Max airline deliveries could begin to customers in December.

In parallel to this, Boeing is working towards final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the MAX returns to commercial service, and which they expect to begin in January.

The FAA has the primary responsibility for accessing adjustments made by Boeing to the control software of the aircraft.

This includes vetting software which will monitor data sent from pairs of airflow sensors.

This is updated from the previous software where transfer of data took place from a single airflow sensor which could have sent the planes into a dive.

Earlier this month the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said that while a lot of work has been done on the software, it believed there was still some work to be done.

EASA said it plans to carry out its own program of checks including simulator and flight tests, before allowing flights to resume in Europe.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told Reuters, ‘It is very likely that international authorities will want a second opinion, or a further opinion … It was not like this a year ago.’

He said, ‘“So we may end up with a couple of weeks of time difference, but we are not talking about six months; we are talking about a delay which, if it happens, will be due mostly to process or administrative technicalities.’

Mr. Ky added, ‘The European watchdog hopes to complete a detailed software review by the end of this month, followed by December flight tests “if everything goes well’’.’

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest carrier, said earlier this month it expected to halve its passenger growth rate next summer due to the delays in delivery of 30 new Max aircraft.

The airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary had previously described the 737 Max as a ‘game changer’ due to its ability to carry more passengers while burning less fuel than similar aircraft it currently has in operation.

(Image: Wilco737 via creativecommons.org)

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