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Boeing says 737 Max software update is complete

After 207 test flights lasting 360 hours, the company says it's ready to release a fix to the flight control system under investigation for two crashes.

 A 737 Max lands last month at Boeing Field in Renton, Washington after a test flight.
Boeing/Paul Christian Gordon

Almost a month after Boeing completed test flights for the software fix to its grounded 737 Max airliner, the company now says the update is finished and ready for evaluation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In a statement issued Thursday the company said it will now schedule a certification flight where FAA crews will analyze the updated MCAS flight control system that's being blamed as the cause of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. 

"We're committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right," said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg. "We're making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly."

Boeing didn't announce a timeline for when the 737 Max might be able to carry passengers again, but the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the plane will not return to the skies until mid-August at least. In any case, though, the FAA will be under close scrutiny during the certification process. On Wednesday before a Congressional committee, Daniel Elwell, the FAA's acting administrator, defended the agency's initial approval of the 737 Max against accusations that it had deferred too strongly to Boeing's enthusiasm to get the aircraft into service.