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Boeing doesn't expect 737 MAX to fly again until mid-2020

BOEING CRISIS | 22 de enero de 2020

Boeing announced on Jan. 21, 2020, that it does not expect regulatory authorities to approve the return to service of its 737 MAX jets before mid-2020, a new delay that caused the firm's shares to plunge more than 3 percent on the New York Stock Exchange. EFE-EPA/Andy Rain/File

New York, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- Boeing announced Tuesday that it does not expect regulatory authorities to approve the return to service of its 737 MAX jets before mid-2020, a new delay that caused the firm's shares to plunge on the New York Stock Exchange.

In a statement, the company said that that is the expectation that is being imparted right now to airlines and suppliers, confirming a report published earlier today by the CNBC financial cable channel.

In its remarks, the aerospace giant emphasized that it will be the regulators - including the Federal Aviation Administration - who will determine when the 737 MAX jets, which are grounded because of two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, will be allowed to fly again.

Boeing's expectation is that the plane will be able to resume operations in the middle of this year taking into account the pace of the process to certify the jet on the part of authorities, although it warned that questions complicating the procedure could still arise.

Boeing shares on the NYSE quickly dropped 5 percent after the CNBC reporting broke and before trading in the stock was temporarily halted to await the official announcement.

By the end of trading on the Big Board, the stock - a member of the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average - had recovered somewhat in price, closing at $313.37 per share, a loss on the day of 3.33 percent. In after-market trading, the firm's shares continued to move downward to below $312.

Boeing's announcement also dragged down shares of other airlines, such as Southwest, American Airlines and United.

The Dow, as a whole, was down a little more than 152 points (0.52 percent) on the day, closing at 29,196.04.

US airlines that have the 737 MAX in their fleets have already been announcing piecemeal that they are not going to be relying on the jet for their flight scheduling at least until early June.

The firm said in its statement that "This updated estimate (on returning the plane to service) is informed by our experience to date with the certification process," adding that "It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX's flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process, which determines pilot training requirements."

Boeing officially suspended production of the model earlier this month after almost a year-long hiatus due to safety problems, which were identified after the two crashes, one in Indonesia and the other in Ethiopia, which killed a total of 346 people.

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