Boe­ing still hopes 737 Max will fly again this year

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

New Delhi, In­dia - A top Boe­ing ex­ec­u­tive in­sisted on Wednesday the avi­a­tion gi­ant was con­fi­dent its con­tro­ver­sial 737 Max jets could be fly­ing again be­fore the end of the year.

Dar­ren Hulst, a Boe­ing vicepres­i­dent, told AFP the firm was work­ing with the US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FAA) to end the ground­ing of the jets since two crashes which left 346 dead.

The in­ter­na­tional sus­pen­sion of 737 Max flights in March has cost Boe­ing bil­lions of dol­lars and forced it onto the de­fen­sive over its safety record.

“Our be­lief is the time­line for re­turn of ser­vice with the FAA can be as soon as this quar­ter,” Hulst said.

“But its re­ally up to each in­di­vid­ual reg­u­la­tor on what they re­quire and [we are] work­ing closely with each one of them,” he told AFP.

“We have de­vel­oped the soft­ware and we are work­ing with the FAA on the tim­ing of the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

“We have done test flights, both in the air and also sim­u­la­tor test­ing. The next step is de­ter­min­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion flight with the FAA and that’s when it moves from our time­line to the reg­u­la­tor’s time­line,” Hulst said.

Boe­ing has been reel­ing since the crashes of a 737 Max jet op­er­ated by In­done­sian car­rier Lion

Air in Oc­to­ber last year that left 189 pas­sen­gers and crew dead and an Ethiopian Air­lines crash this year that killed 157 peo­ple.

All 400 737 Max jets have been grounded since.

Boe­ing’s former chair­man

Den­nis Muilen­burg faced gru­elling ques­tion­ing in the US Congress last week as law­mak­ers ques­tioned whether the com­pany had com­pro­mised safety to rush the 737 Max jets into ser­vice.

The questions come as Boe­ing faces mount­ing com­pe­ti­tion from Euro­pean ri­val Air­bus in key mar­kets such as In­dia, where Hulst spoke.

In­dia will be the world’s fastest-grow­ing avi­a­tion mar­ket over the next 20 years, Hulst said.

Boe­ing ex­pected In­dia to or­der 2,380 planes worth US$330bn over the next two decades, the ex­ec­u­tive said.

But In­dia’s largest low-cost air­line IndiGo this month or­dered 300 planes from Air­bus.

Hulst said Boe­ing would stick to a long term re­cov­ery in the bat­tle for or­ders in In­dia.

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