David Calhoun, CEO of Boeing, is confident. The American aeronautical giant will - finally - relaunch production of the 737 Max, whose assembly has been frozen since January 2020. “The plane is in great shape. I am confident that we will restart the assembly line in May, ” he told Fox Business. Boeing should specify in the coming days the exact date of this industrial take-off.
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The manufacturer takes the risky bet to restart production before the aircraft has been recertified by the United States Agency for Aviation Safety (FAA). The latter must decide on the improvements made to the aircraft, in particular the new version of the flight stabilization software, the MCAS, implicated in the two deadly crashes of October 2018 and March 2019. These two disasters had resulted in the flight ban of the Boeing bestseller.
The aircraft manufacturer hopes to get the green light from the FAA "in the third quarter of 2020" and resume deliveries next August. Slowly. It will first have to destock the 400 or so devices produced and not delivered between mid-March and December 2019. Which promises to be difficult.Boeing estimates that the year 2021 will be devoted to this destocking but "at an even slower pace than that anticipated"
The Covid-19 crisis put the airlines out of business. In survival mode, the latter protect their cash and are not ready to rush to take delivery of new planes. It is indeed on delivery that they settle the balance (70% minimum) of devices ordered years earlier. Boeing estimates that the year 2021 will be devoted to this destocking but "at an even slower pace than that anticipated". Consequently, the aircraft manufacturer plans to gradually increase the production rate of the Max to 31 copies per month in 2021, then to increase it according to demand in the following years. Before the two crashes, the Max was produced at 52 copies per month.