Boeing begins crucial certification test flights for grounded 737 Max
STOCK RISES 14.4%
A Boeing Co. 737 Max took off on Monday from a Seattle-area airport on the first day of certification flight testing with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and company test pilots, a crucial moment in the planemaker’s worst-ever crisis.
Boeing Flight 701 departed King County International Airport, which is also known as Boeing Field, around 09:55 a.m. PT. It was scheduled to land two hours later at Moses Lake airport in eastern Washington, people familiar with the flight plan said. The plane was then scheduled to fly back to Seattle.
Boeing gained 14.4 per cent to close at US$194.42 on the news.
If the 737 Max gains FAA approval to return to commercial service, not likely to happen until September, it is expected to spark a scramble by Boeing to determine the fate of hundreds of parked jets.
Deliveries to airlines were frozen after the jet’s safety ban in March 2019 following the second of two fatal crashes that together killed 346 people, but Boeing continued to produce and store jets for months, hoping for a quick return to service.
That means there are 450 jets that Boeing is eager to deliver once the Max is cleared to fly, though experts say the prospect of moving those quickly has been diminished by the coronavirus crisis. Airlines have also grounded a further 385 of the jets in their fleets. U.S. airlines have said it will take them between 30 and 60 days after regulatory approval to prepare their jets and pilots for flight.