Boeing has over 400 brand new 737 MAX aircraft in storage, unable to deliver them to their customers until the FAA ban is lifted. This shocking number is further complicated by the logistical nightmare of how they will possibly deliver all these aircraft.
What are the details?
Boeing plans to suspend production of the 737 MAX in January next year. Despite the fact that the aircraft has been grounded since March 2019, the airframe builder has kept production of the MAX underway.
“Throughout the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has continued to build new airplanes and there are now approximately 400 airplanes in storage. We have previously stated that we would continually evaluate our production plans should the MAX grounding continue longer than we expected. As a result of this ongoing evaluation, we have decided to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 program beginning next month.” – Boeing press release.
The problem is that Boeing has been unable to deliver these finished aircraft to its customers and has to store them around their facilities in Seattle. They have so many aircraft that they are converting employee carparks into makeshift marshaling facilities.
Simple Flying had previously reported on the amount of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in storage awaiting to be delivered was around 150, however, we admittedly never thought that Boeing would reach over 400. In our last story on the matter, it would have taken Boeing 18 months to deliver by normal means all the aircraft on-site.
This is all thanks to Boeing’s production line that can create up to 42 new Boeing 737 MAXs per month.
How would Boeing deliver this many aircraft?
Boeing’s future plans, should the 737 MAX be cleared for flying with an MCAS fix, will be to hire additional delivery team members to clear the backlog of aircraft as soon as possible.
But the backlog might be far more than 400 by the time Boeing actually gets permission to restart deliveries. Speaking nearly a year ago, CEO of Boeing Dennis Muilenburg said of making the 737 MAX airworthy again:
It’s a timeline that varies for each airline. But just to give you a sense of it, we have about 385 MAXes that we’ve previously delivered to airlines that are currently grounded. We’ve also been continuing to build airplanes in our factory in Renton at a rate of 42 a month so we have a hundred to 150 additional airplanes that have been built but not yet delivered to customers. So if you add those all together it’s more than 500 airplanes that we want to get back into service with our customers.
Not only do these 400 plus aircraft need to be spun back up into flyable condition, but Boeing also needs to fix up the original 385 MAX’s that they had delivered before the grounding.
“It could be, you know, measured in days or weeks for each airplane. And processing through 500 airplanes will take some time. And so that’s the phased ramp-up. Most importantly again, we’re going to be very focused on safety and helping our customers get the fleet back up and operating in a safe manner.” continued Mr. Muilenburg in the same story.
Overall, this is a problem that has reached ridiculous proportions for Boeing. They are facing an unprecedented challenge with delivering all these aircraft and repairing the name of the Boeing 737 MAX.
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