Optimism After Day-Long Meeting On Efforts To Fix Boeing 737 Max
May 25 2019
The FAA has said it will not reverse its decision to ground the plane until it sees the findings of a multi-agency review of Boeing's plan to fix software on the 737 MAX which the plane maker has described as a common link in the two crashes.
Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said on Thursday he thought travelers in the United States and around the world would respect any eventual decision by the FAA to return the plane to service.
United Airlines and Southwest Airlines Co. met earlier this week in Miami to draw up plans.
Elwell says as the country that first certified the 737 Max design, the USA will be the first to review and certify Boeing's software changes.
In addition to U.S. airlines, Boeing itself will have to prepare roughly 30 MAX jets that are sitting in storage in Washington state, and there's even more in Texas. It will tie the system to more than one sensor and make it less powerful - pilots for Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were unable to counter the system's automatic nose-down pitch.
The stock has fallen about 17 percent since the second crash, of an Ethiopian Airlines jet in March, wiping about $40 billion off its market value. The two accidents left 346 dead.
Even after the FAA lifts its ban on 737 MAX flights, airlines will have to spend about 100 and 150 hours getting each aircraft ready to fly again after being put in storage, plus time for training pilots on the new software, officials from the three USA airlines that operate the 737 MAX told Reuters.
Elwell said that the process was still ongoing because the FAA had submitted further questions to Boeing about its technology fixes.
Meanwhile, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told NBC Nightly News on Wednesday that "I don't know ... that any amount of marketing" can reassure flyers that the 737 Max is safe.
Pressed on the how they'll handle public opinion that the plane isn't safe, Elwell said, "Yes we need to be concerned if the public is concerned about flight, yes is that bothersome?"
Ultimately each airline will be responsible for developing its own training regime based on its different needs.
"The losses also include maintenance fee and leasing cost during the grounding period ... and it has created clear financial impact for the airlines", an industry insider said.
For Southwest and American, that has meant more than 100 daily flight cancellations during the summer travel season.
United said Friday it has removed the Max from its schedule through August 3 and will cancel about 2,400 flights in June and July as a result.
"The meeting will provide a forum for airlines to exchange information about the experiences and challenges that they face as a result of the grounding and in their preparation for the reintroduction of the aircraft into operations, " IATA said last week.