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Wed Aug 14, 2019, 08:12 PM

Everything you need to know about Boeing 737 Max developments

What started as a nightmare scenario — two crashes of the same type of jet within five months that killed 346 people — has turned into a global aviation chess game of the highest stakes.

The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded worldwide following the second crash, in March, and there is no indication when it will be allowed to fly again. The Chicago-based manufacturer is addressing issues with the flight-control system that appears to have played a role in both the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia. Boeing executives have said they are planning for the jet to come back early in the fourth quarter of this year, but nothing has been confirmed, and regulators still must sign off.

On Monday, new Federal Aviation Administration administrator Stephen Dickson said during his swearing-in ceremony the return would not be rushed.

“This plane will not fly in commercial service until I am completely assured that it is safe to do so,” he said. “FAA is following no timeline in returning the aircraft to service. Rather, we are going where the facts lead us and diligently ensuring that all technology and training is present and correct before the plane returns to passenger service.”

In the meantime, airlines have canceled thousands of flights on both the Max 8, the specific aircraft involved in the crashes, and Max 9, another aircraft in the series; scrapped routes; deserted airports; and taken financial hits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Carriers are adjusting their fleets and schedules to not only make up for the planes that are out of service, but also compensate for the new planes that were on order that will now be delayed.

Even with those disruptions, consumers have thus far largely been shielded because this new model was not yet ubiquitous. Although Boeing says the 737 Max was its fastest-selling aircraft ⁠ — with about 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers ⁠ — fewer than 400 have been delivered to airlines around the world. According to Bloomberg, just 3 percent of the mainline fleet in the United States is made up of the aircraft. Still, the aviation industry is scrambling, and it’s getting more likely that everyday travelers might feel the pinch.



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