The Boeing 737 MAX Might Remain Grounded Until 2020

According to the latest reports, the Boeing 737 MAX could remain grounded for the remainder of the year, possibly until 2020. The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded four months ago following two fatal accidents.

Boeing 737 MAX grounding 2020
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for four months. Photo: Boeing

Just say the name Boeing 737 MAX, and almost everyone knows what you’re talking about. Following the second fatal MAX accident, the aircraft made news headlines around the world as it was grounded one country at a time. US President Donald Trump finally issued a worldwide ban on the aircraft days after the second accident. Since then, airlines have been constantly revising their schedules as the MAX ban drags on.

737 MAX ongoing grounding

The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for a total of four months. In this time, while Boeing has been working on a fix to the issue that grounded the aircraft, some other issues have crept in which the manufacturer is also required to fix. It’s fair to say that once the 737 MAX returns to the skies, it will be one of the most closely scrutinized aircraft in service.

The ongoing grounding of the aircraft has led to frustrations for a number of carriers. Just this week we have seen both American Airlines and United Airlines push back the aircraft’s reentry to service yet again. This now sits at November for both carriers. Meanwhile, Ryanair appears to be replacing the MAX branding on their aircraft.

Boeing 737 MAX Grounding 2020
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded after two fatal accidents. Photo: Boeing

2020 reentry to service?

There is a small chance that the Boeing 737 MAX could remain grounded until 2020. Indeed, Bloomberg recently reported that the latest scenario suggests it won’t be flying again until 2020, according to anonymous FAA sources.

The final software package with which Boeing is tinkering is yet to be submitted to regulators, according to a Boeing representative. However, safety is Boeing’s top priority in returning the aircraft to service, and this is key. Boeing cannot afford to rush the fix if it means the aircraft is not safe.

Video of the day:

Boeing 737 MAX Grounded 2020
The Boeing 737 MAX may remain grounded until 2020. Photo: Boeing

No comment on the schedule

Simple Flying spoke with a Boeing representative. They told us that they do not decide the aircraft’s return to service timeframe and that this is a matter for regulators to determine. Additionally, they refused to comment on media speculation regarding the aircraft’s return to service. They told us:

We have said all along that the regulatory authorities determine the process for certifying the MAX software and training updates and the timing for lifting the grounding order. We will not comment on media speculation on that schedule.

However, it makes sense for Boeing to be cautious with indicating any sort of timescale. It could be better, in the long run, to keep from publishing a timeframe. Should a timeframe be published and then missed, this could reflect badly on both the plane and the manufacturer.

When do you think we will see the aircraft in the skies again? Let us know in the comments.

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Brody Cyr

I’m guessing that airlines are going to be wanting the plane ready for the holiday season in a few months.


If and when the fully tested, certified and fully trained crews resume flying the 737-8200, I’ll not seek out carriers or flights, yet if that fight fits my schedule I’ll board without much thought!


…aspecially if it it is rebranded…even less thought needed


Interesting to see from the following link that the MAX is the second-most-dangerous modern, western commercial airliner in history, after the Concorde (based on crashes per number-of-flights). And, in the case of the Concorde, the cause was external (a piece of metal on the runway ruptured a fuel tank) rather than an intrinsic design flaw.

Joanna Bailey

That’s a reputation Boeing will struggle to come back from…


2020? When during that year-spring? The timetable for re-entry into service keeps getting bumped up.


Ryanair is now indicating probable base cuts for 2020, due to the MAX grounding:


In all the discussion of the MAX grounding, there’s relatively little attention for the individual tragedies that were caused by the two crashes. This poor man lost his 3 children, his wife and his mother-in-law in the Ethopian crash. He’s testifying today before the US Congress.


The fix has to be 110% perfect. One more crash (from ANY faulty software or system not just anti-stall) will be catastrophic for passengers and for Boeing as a manufacturer. I say not til April 2020.