The FAA’s Administrator, Steve Dickson, has told CNBC that the Boeing 737 MAX will not be recertified before the new year. The aircraft has been grounded for around 9 months now, or three quarters of a year.
The Boeing 737 MAX has spent the majority of 2019 sat on the ground looking up at the skies. Following a second fatal crash linked to the aircraft’s MCAS system, the type was grounded in mid-March across the globe. Since then, there have been occasional repositioning flights, however, no new aircraft have been delivered. This has severely affected some customers that depend on Boeing aircraft, such as Ryanair and flydubai.
Earlier today Steve Dickson, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Authority, told CNBC that the Boeing 737 MAX’s recertification would not occur in 2019. There are just 20 full days left in the calendar year. This includes one federal holiday and six weekend days, giving just 13 office days.
Mr Dickson told CNBC that there are around ten to eleven milestones still to be completed with regards to the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX, though he didn’t elaborate on each one. He went on to tell the CNBC presenter: “If you just do the math it’s going to extend into 2020”.
In order to complete the process by the new year, both Boeing and the FAA would need to tick off roughly a milestone a day, which seems a big task. This is what prompted Mr Dickson’s comments earlier today. He did, however, refuse to give any timeline beyond ‘not in 2019’.
Boeing’s target scuppered
The news will mean that Boeing will not reach its recertification timeline set out in November. At the time, the American aerospace manufacturer said:
“Boeing continues to target FAA certification of the MAX flight control software updates during this quarter. Based on this schedule, it is possible that the resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, after certification, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order.”
The company had also stated its intent for the aircraft to reenter commercial service in January. However, many airlines are currently targeting re-entry to service in March. That list includes the three United States operators.
This potentially means that the aircraft type could be out of commercial service for a year. Indeed, it is already three-quarters of the way there. Only time will tell what happens, as the FAA refuses to commit to a firm timeline. It seems that the job will be done when the job is done.
A Boeing spokesperson told Simple Flying: “We continue to work closely with the FAA and global regulators towards certification and the safe return to service of the MAX.”
When do you think the Boeing 737 MAX will be recertified? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.