We’ve seen Boeing executives repeatedly push a timeline for when they’d like to see the 737 MAX return to service, and that has slipped several times (with their latest estimate being that the plane won’t be certified again before February 2020 at the earliest — in the meantime production of the plane is being suspended).
Well, yesterday FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg (who has since been fired), had a meeting at FAA headquarters in Washington DC. As it was reported, the purpose of this meeting was to “ensure Boeing is clear on FAA’s expectations regarding the ongoing review of the 737 MAX.”
This came just a day after Dickson faced questioning in Congress regarding the perception of an all too close relationship between the FAA and Boeing.
According to reports, in this meeting Dickson warned Muilenburg to stop pushing for a timeline with which the 737 MAX will be certified once again.
In an email to Boeing before the meeting, it was stated that “the Administrator is concerned that Boeing continues to pursue a return-to-service schedule that is not realistic,” adding that they’re concerned about “the perception that some of Boeing’s public statements have been designed to force FAA into taking quicker action.”
Sources who were present during the meeting say that Dickson told Muilenburg that “Boeing’s focus should be on the quality and timeliness of data submittals for FAA review,” and he also reminded Muilenburg that the FAA controls the timeline for the review process.
Boeing representatives called the meeting productive, and also said that they “reaffirmed with the FAA that safety is our top shared priority, and we committed to addressing all of the FAA’s questions as they assess MAX certification and training requirements.”
Now Boeing representatives are saying that they are working with the FAA to support the requirements and their timeline, as they work to bring the MAX back into service in 2020. So it seems they got the hint. 😉
It seems long overdue for the FAA to tell Boeing to stop pushing a timeline.
I understand Boeing’s desire to reassure investors and airlines as much as possible, but the optics of this have seemed horrible all along. If any organization is giving an estimate of when the 737 MAX will return to service, it should be the FAA and not Boeing.
It seems tone deaf (at best) for the company that made these mistakes and that rushed certification the first time around to be publicly speculating on when a government organization will once again deem the plane airworthy.