Boeing’s Update On 737 MAX Returning To Service

Filed Under: Misc.

Shares of Boeing stock are up nearly 5% today (as of the time of this story) following an update from Boeing regarding the return of the 737 MAX to service.

In a press release, Boeing has stated that they are targeting FAA certification of the 737 MAX control software update during this quarter.

Boeing Thinks The 737 MAX Will Fly In January

Boeing has stated today that:

  • It’s possible that the resumption of 737 MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, when the FAA issues an airworthiness directive rescinding the grounding order
  • They hope the 737 MAX will return to service in January, which will happen after final validation of the updated training requirements

Boeing’s Progress On 737 MAX Recertification

Boeing states that there are five key milestones they have to complete with the FAA before the plane returns to service:

  1. FAA eCab Simulator Certification Session: A multi-day eCab simulator evaluation with the FAA to ensure the overall software system performs its intended function, both normally and in the presence of system failures.
  2. FAA Line Pilots Crew Workload Evaluation: A separate, multi-day simulator session with airline pilots to assess human factors and crew workload under various test conditions.
  3. FAA Certification Flight Test: FAA pilots will conduct a certification flight(s) of the final updated software.
  4. Boeing Final Submittal to the FAA: After completion of the FAA certification flight, Boeing will submit the final certification deliverables and artifacts to the FAA to support software certification.
  5. Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB) Simulator Training Evaluation: The Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB), a multi-regulatory body, conducts a multi-day simulator session with global regulatory pilots to validate training requirements. Following the simulator session, the Flight Standardization Board will release a report for a public comment period, followed by final approval of the training.

Boeing and the FAA concluded the first milestone last week, and are now working towards the FAA line pilots evaluation and the FAA certification flight test.

This All Seems Optimistic

It’s interesting to see Boeing shares up this much following the news, because it doesn’t actually seem like that much of an update? While it’s nice that Boeing hopes they can resume deliveries in December and that the plane can resume commercial service in January, ultimately the timeline isn’t in their hands.

Goodness knows the FAA is under a microscope here given that there are questions about how the plane was certified to begin with.

Beyond that, FAA certification is only one part of the equation. Aviation authorities around the globe will have to decide whether they want to certify the plane as well. It’s possible we’ll see aviation authorities globally follow the FAA’s lead, though it’s also possible they won’t, for a variety of reasons — that could be because of lost trust in the FAA, it could be for political reasons, or it could be because they want more time.

Bottom Line

Boeing has provided a slightly more detailed explanation of the progress they’re making towards FAA recertification. They’ve also stated that they hope to resume 737 MAX deliveries in December and have the plane reenter service in January.

It sure is interesting that we could see deliveries of the 737 MAX resume before the plane can actually resume commercial service.

What do you make of this update from Boeing?

Comments
  1. Why would I trust either Boeing or the FAA when it comes to the MAX. It was obviously ramrodded through certification.

    Has anyone lost their job at either the FAA or Boeing for killing hundreds of people?

  2. Why is anyone behaving as though the FAA is still legitimate? Where is the EASA’s certification on this?

  3. Everyone keeps scoffing at those of us who say we won’t fly on the Max when it re-enters service, but I suspect a lot of frequent fliers will actively avoid the aircraft.

  4. Lucky,

    Did you see this Bloomberg article about the massive rework the 737’s computer systems needs? Long story short 787, 777 A320 have multiple computers that vote on the correct course of action. The 737 only has 2 and they don’t talk to each other. They are making changes to have the two computers talk and vote with a disagreement meaning no action is taken.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-08/delays-in-boeing-max-return-began-with-near-crash-in-simulator

  5. They let Boeing “self certify” aspects of the plane. They never should have done that. What good is a governing body, the “checker” when they just let the company check their own stuff?

  6. @ Moke – absolute nonsense. The plane is faulty and Boeing are responsible for that. The pilots are just as much the victims here as the passengers and cabin crew who also died.

    Ben are you sure they don’t mean 2022 rather than 2021? It’s only a couple of months away and the FAA will want to go through all of this with a fine toothcomb and will want to make sure they are seen to do that as well. I see some pointed congressional hearings on this.

    And once the FAA (re) certify then a lot of other regulators around the world will want to take their own look at what both Boeing and the FAA have done before even thinking of lettign the MAX fly in their air space.

  7. Stock movements nowadays are driven more by the algorithms of institutional investors than anything like consumer sentiment. That’s why this announcement prompted a 5% boost, and also why the market goes nuts whenever Trump tweets anything about China.

  8. @ChrisC has it right and others too! There is a design problem and the software is suppose to correct that problem….Good Luck with that!!

    Same here, I am not touch that crap MAX!!

    Design the airplane correctly BOEING and stop putting money$$$$ first, u A$$hole$!!

    A perspective form a SW Engr.

  9. I and most of the flying public are thinking nope.
    Boeing leadership needs to go to jail and they need to buyback these clunker deathtraps.

  10. When (and if) the MAX returns to service, there will be a lot of people who will not fly it. I’m one of them. And living in Nova Scotia, this decision will be a huge inconvenience, because both Air Canada and Westjet intend to use the MAX exclusively for their flights between Halifax and Europe. Avoiding the MAX will mean flying west for two hours to Montreal or Toronto and then flying east on a Europe-bound widebody. An expensive and time-consuming proposition. But it’s a first-world problem I’ll just have to deal with.

    Frankly, I find myself looking ahead to the possibility of a third MAX crash, which could happen for any reason whatsoever, but would likely be the final nail in the coffin for this plane. I can’t imagine Boeing executives aren’t having nightmares about this scenario.

    Incidentally, both the deHavilland Comet jet and the Lockheed Electra prop-jet suffered three horrific crashes in a short period of time after entering service in the 1950’s. The planes came apart at cruise altitude. Following extensive modifications, both aircraft eventually returned to the air, but airlines and the public remained nervous about them (some U.S. firms even forbid their executives from flying on the Electra) and neither aircraft sold in the numbers that had been expected. The British-built Comet had beaten Boeing’s 707 into service, offering the first jet service across the Atlantic. But in 2019 how many people have ever even heard of the crash-plagued Comet? Whereas everybody’s heard of the 707…

  11. The DC-10s and MD-11s killed a lot more people than the 737 MAX and have flown on for years. The MD-11 is still in cargo service, the military version of the DC-10 with the USAF as a tanker.

  12. Katie and RF are 100% correct. Airlines could sell tickets for $1 and many of us will still pass. This baby is dead and no amount of cheerleading by OMAAT, Boeing or the airlines will bring it back to life. I Don’t care how many airline execs take test flights. I won’t ever be flying on a MAX as long as there are other options.

  13. >>It’s possible we’ll see aviation authorities globally follow the FAA’s lead
    They followed the FAA’s lead last time and hundreds of people died.
    Fool me once…

    How is this re-certification and different than the last time?

    Still not gonna fly on a MAX 8. Period.

  14. @FredM

    The DC-10 and MD-11 accidents were caused by vastly different problems. An American Airlines DC10 had an engine fall-off during climb-out from Chicago, a Turk Hava Yollari DC10 suffered an explosive decompression leaving Paris that severed vital flight cables, an Air New Zealand DC10 flew into an Antarctic mountain in zero visibility, a Western Airlines DC10 landed on a closed runway in Mexico City and hit construction vehicles… Do I need to cite more examples? These accidents were a far cry from the two MAX crashes which were BOTH caused by the aircraft’s basic lack of airworthiness. The damn thing needs a computer program to keep it from crashing!

  15. silly question.how will people know they are flying on a max if they board by tunnel and if when on board they find it is a max..will they be compensated if they deboard

  16. I would however not get on one of these planes for at least the next 4-5-6 years. And it´s almost funny to see the stocks go up that much, especially as they never really lost much to begin with. Capital market still seems confident in Boeing. I´m not.

  17. Heck, I dont get the whole thing out of my head. Boeing wants to reuse existing 737 construction but the friggin jets dont fit under the wing. And instead of doing something else, e.g. building a new design or botching new jets on a shortened 757, giving it longer legs like on the Max 10 or whatever the options they could have had, they decide to move on with a totally flawed design and let the software fix it. Which then of course is also botched beyond what anyone could have imagined. They already messed up with the 747-8 whos wings start to flatter unless the software does something about it. Hire knowledgeable engineers and let them do their job, for the love of god.

  18. Funny how many readers state that they won’t fly the Max; I’m SURE once it’s back in service, flights will be packed and nobody will refuse to fly it, specially if the price is right.

  19. Unless you take a carrier that doesn’t fly the MAX, you won’t have a choice. Aircraft swaps are common – are you going to accept a delay every time you get a MAX swapped onto your route? And some routes will be all MAX – you going to take 2-3 connections to avoid it? Not likely.

  20. I will be flying inside the Philippines next spring possibly with Air Asia. I will admit to being slightly apprehensive but not because the airplane.

    In North America I will actively avoid the Max but not because of the airplane, but because of how uncomfortable the sardine layout and unusable toilets make the flight experience.

    The DC-10 crashed because of single redundancy in the flight controls which, when the floor buckled, made the aircraft uncontrollable. The Max flight controls still were working, the pilot just didn’t know how to turn off the MCAS. Those who did had no problem. There is a huge difference between these two scenarios.

    Airbus killed a lot of people getting the kinks out of their fly-by-wire A320 series. They are still flying and the ‘ain’t goin Boeing’ group will be flying them. Odd, isn’t it?

    I hope the bird gets back in the air. One thing we can be sure of – everybody will know what runaway trim is, and how to flip two switches to turn the MCAS off!

  21. I can’t wait to fly on it. I flew on the Max 7 times with United and have no qualms about stepping back on one once they return to service. If the DC-10 and other aircraft survived their ordeals, then so will the 737MAX. I’d bet money that MOST of the flying public won’t care (or don’t know) what type of plane they’re on. They just want to get to point B from point A. I will say that this is probably the final form of the 737 and Boeing will more than likely be focused on a 737 replacement in the coming years.

  22. As passengers, we have choices. I have flown numerous times on the 73M and am fine with the HUGE overhead bins but will not “select” the Max if I have a choice in flights….
    You know: this reminds me of the early years of the SUVs. Numerous roll-overs! deaths. Yet, everyone still still drives an SUV.
    737M = the new SUV in air travel….. jajaja

  23. @Moke – you obviously haven’t done any research on this, the pilots were not at fault. They didn’t even know about the flawed system and in the few seconds they had to figure out what was going on they had nothing to work with. The Max is a back of a fag packet response to the hugely successful A320 series and it should never have been certified. Everything after the 737-200 was a stretch too far for this airframe. You can’t take faulty hardware and then try to fix it with software, badly designed software in this case. In my opinion the Max should be scrapped, it should not be allowed to fly again. Boeing does not care about safety, only about profits. Their senior management should be sent to jail for this, 346 people are dead because Boeing took whatever shortcut they could find. They should not get away with this, what they did is criminal and they should suffer the consequences.

  24. Hahahaha. Boeing pooping out another good news PR. While they haven’t addressed the issue.
    Hardware design flaws cannot be fixed by software. I most definitely will not fly these kamikaze toys.
    And who would pay any attention to FAA after they colluded with Boeing in the original certification? Highly unlikely any other regulator is going to certify this WMD. Which means they can only be used for US domestic flights.
    I assume the US based customers are already trembling in anticipation of being able to fly this absolute gem?

  25. Everyone saying you won’t fly on the max, will your opinion change if there’s been no crash after say, 6 months / 12 months, 18 months? I’m pretty sure most people will change their mind on this if there’s no crashes.

    I’ve flown on the Max a few times before it was withdrawn, but like many others I will avoid it if it returns to service.

    I ask the question above because I’m sure my opinion will change if there’s been no incidents after a decent length of time

  26. @Azamaraal +1

    @Chris

    Ethiopian pilots knew all about it thanks to Lion air, yet they failed to reduce plane speed while trying to take manual control. Amateurs!!!

  27. From now on, I suspect people are going to be far more aware of the aircraft they’re flying on if the Max returns to service.

  28. My husband and I fly quite often on our wonderful snorkeling adventures and will be doing
    so January 16th – 31st to beautiful Curacoa and to our horror noticed the max 8 was going to
    be put back in service January 5th which means we might be scheduled to fly one…………….

    We love flying and always prayer for safety when we board our jets to have wonderful
    vacations but the thought of the airline which we are going to be flying has the most max 8
    for their fleet scares us so much!

    I am a registered nurse but do have some knowledge of engines, etc and I believe that most
    of the posts I read appear to be very correct about the Max 8 design was flawed from the
    start and the planes should be scrapped! People need to know and feel they are flying on
    well designed, mechanically sound jets with great pilots!

    We both feel that pilots seemed to be blamed for everything when most of the time it is the
    fault of faulty aircraft. Out of all the years we have been flying we have had excellent pilots
    who brought us successfully through or actually above great turbulence, electrical failures
    and many other situations using their great skills! We always thank the pilots at the end
    of our flight for what a GREAT job they did!!!!!! Thank you all you pilots out there and God
    bless the families of those wonderful pilots who lost their lives probably in shear terror
    at the helm of a badly designed plane!!!! Michiganders

  29. The MAX I’m was safe to begin with , it’s the lack of training.m that killed people. 259 hour right seated and ZERO training in MCAS.

  30. @RM

    Thank God you’re here to put us right. And also to put right *every* expert aviation safety regulator worldwide.

    Without anonymous internet trolls putting us right, how would the rest of us even live?

    Still, I’m surprised to see BillC With His Random initial Capitalisation *and* His *odd* over-*emphasis* HAS not yet *appeared* to Tell Us How Boeing *Was* right *all* Along.

  31. It’s very simple. I will never knowingly book onto a 737 MAX flight. In the event of a service swap, if I find myself on an air bridge looking at a 737 MAX, I will simply refuse to board, whatever the inconvenience and cost, checked bags or no checked bags. There is a principal at stake here. The 737 MAX is fundamentally flawed and should be scrapped. If iffs and no butts.

  32. Let’s see.
    An autonomous hardware system that can cause a crash if the AOA sensor fails.
    A single point of failure for this system at the AOA sensor.
    No reference to MACAS in the pilot handbook except for the section on acronyms.
    Boeing sells the aircraft as a simple pilot conversion that did not need simulator training time.
    Outdated computer support onboard.
    40% self certification including the critical MCAS system.
    And all this is to be contolled and handled by software created by humans, which means it can be good but never perfect.
    Boeing are you f*%€#£g insane?

  33. I am pretty sure Boeing expects FAA will recertify quickly. All they need to do is call the orange one and the rubber stamps will come out. The real question is how China and other regulators deal with it. It was every other regulatory agency around the world that grounded the plane before the FAA took the idea seriously.

  34. The 737 brand is irrevocably tainted, a toxic waste-dump of Boeing’s own design. They’d do better to kill it off altogether, and start with a brand new design from the wheels up. And retire the 737 name forever. It’s poison.

  35. There’s an expression in my industry: “There’s never enough money to do it right but there’s always enough money to do it again”.
    Boeing+greed+stupidity=737Max. Boeing deserves everything it’s getting and unfortunately, all who lost their lives and their families do not deserve this.

  36. AB just smashed Boeing at the airshow, once again. It’s a national disgrace what Boeing and it’s management has done. Hell look how long it took them to deliver the new tanker which oh by the by is based on the 767 airframe yet it took how long? Frankly as an ex USAF and having dealt with issues on BA aircraft I now find myself looking for AB when booking domestic and international

  37. From where I stand, the issues with the aircraft are both due to faults with the plane itself and with the pilots. The pilot issue is not really the fault of the pilots themselves, but those responsible with training them to fly the Max effectively. Hopefully, if I see myself flying the 737 Max when I earn my wings, I’ll take steps to ensure the safety of the passengers in an emergency, even if it means making a belly landing on a United States Air Force or RAF runway.

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