By: AirTravellerPH Staff
Ten months after its grounding and slipping into 2020, Boeing has decided to halt the production of the 737 MAX. It is unknown until when the production will remain suspended or if Boeing is finally ending the 737 line. It is also unclear when the grounding of the aircraft will be lifted but the crisis hammering the American aircraft manufacturing company has been growing deeper.
In a media statement, Boeing said, "We have previously stated that we would continually evaluate our production plans should the Max grounding continue longer than we expected.”
“As a result of this ongoing evaluation, we have decided to prioritise the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 programme beginning next month," Boeing said.
The grounding came after the crash of two 737 Max 8 from Lion Air and Ethiopian Air claiming 346 lives. The aircraft's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) is being blamed for the accidents.
In a report from Flightglobal, Boeing has completed to the 737 MAX's flight control systems, particularly the MCAS system.
The United States's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not given a certain timeline when the MAX will be flying again but it has mentioned that several items, some significant, remain incomplete.
Boeing said, “this decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return-to-service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritise the delivery of stored aircraft."
Boeing also said that the affected workforce will continue 737-related work or may be assigned temporarily to other teams in Puget Sound.
A halt in the production may however affect the Boeing supply chain which include suppliers like its engine manufacturer CFM International and its fuselage maker Spirit AeroSystems.
CFM International also manufactures the engine of the Airbus A320NEO, the CFM LEAP-1A. The Boeing 737 MAX makes use of the CFM LEAP-1B engine.
The engine manufacturer said, "We are partnering with our customers and suppliers to mitigate the impact of the temporary slowdown of the 737 Max production, while protecting the company’s ability to accelerate production as needed in the future."
Boeing now has 400 737 MAX on storage. At the time of its grounding, Boeing was producing 52 737s monthly but had to cut production rate to 42 in April.
Not a single airline in the Philippines operates nor have pending orders for the Boeing 737 MAX.