Boeing considers cutting production of 737 Max

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing may cut production of the grounded
737 Max jet or temporarily stop making it after being told that its timetable
for a return to the skies was not realistic, according to a published report
Sunday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing’s board would
consider the moves at a meeting that began Sunday and would run into Monday.
The newspaper, citing people it did not identify, said management is
increasingly seeing production cuts as a viable option.

Boeing wouldn’t comment to the Associated Press on Sunday
night, but the company repeated a previous statement that it continues to work
with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and global regulators on the Max,
which was grounded in March after deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that
killed a total of 346 people.

“We will continue to assess production decisions based on
the timing and conditions of return to service, which will be based on
regulatory approvals,” the statement said.

The report came just days after a senior FAA official told
legislators that Boeing is pushing for an unrealistically quick return of the
Max and that there is a perception the company is pressuring the regulator.

In an email Thursday to key congressional committees, Philip
Newman, FAA assistant administrator for government and industry affairs, said
Administrator Stephen Dickson “is concerned that Boeing continues to pursue a
return-to-service schedule that is not realistic” because of various delays.
Newman wrote that Dickson is clear that FAA and Boeing “must take the time to
get this process right.”

The grounding of the Max is costing Boeing and airlines
billions of dollars. Boeing has been eager to signal that the plane could soon
fly again. Recently, the company said it expected the FAA to permit shipments of
new Max jets in December and approval of a pilot-training program for airlines
in January.

Boeing is waiting for the FAA and other regulators to sign
off on changes to flight control software that was a major factor in the two
crashes. 

Boeing said in October that production cuts may be needed if
a decision on letting the plane fly again is delayed into next year.

Production cuts could result in layoffs at the plant near
Seattle that could help Boeing control its expenses as it waits for the FAA and
other regulators to let the Max back into the air. Companies that supply parts
to the plane also may have to cut production.

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