Boeing says 737 Max will stay grounded until mid-2020

Before the aircraft can carry passengers again, the FAA still needs to certify it as safe.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max planes on the tarmac

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max planes are parked on the tarmac after being grounded.

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

It's been almost a year since commercial flights of the 737 Max stopped, and now Boeing faces more delays in getting the aircraft back in the air. On Tuesday the company warned airlines that it won't be able to resume 737 Max flights until at least June or July of this year, another delay from the original projection of this month.

The announcement means that Southwest, American and other airlines that operate the Max will be forced to juggle their fleets and possibly cancel flights during another peak summer travel season. Boeing blamed the new timetable on its experience with the Federal Aviation Administration's certification process, a critical step before airlines can can return the plane to service.

"It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process," the company said in a statement. "Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen."

The 737 Max has been grounded since March following two crashes, one in Indonesia and the other in Ethiopia, that killed 346 people. Though the company says it has fixed the flight control system being blamed for both crashes, the FAA has not said when it would begin test flights. Airlines also will need time to train flight crews on the changes

In addition to MCAS, the flight control system under scrutiny, the FAA is examining whether two bundles of wires near the horizontal stabilizer are too close together and a possible weakness with a rotor on its engines.

Watch this: Boeing CEO: 737 Max soon to be one of the safest planes

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