Boeing has confirmed that it does not expect the grounded 737 MAX to return to service before “mid-2020”. In a statement released on January 21, the company cautioned that this time-line is an estimate, and entry in to service will be finally determined by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other regulators across the world like Europe’s EASA and India’s DGCA.
“…in order to help our customers and suppliers plan their operations, we periodically provide them with our best estimate of when regulators will begin to authorize the ungrounding of the 737 MAX.” the statement says.
Since the FAA will lead regulators in un-grounding the MAX, US carriers like American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines will be amongst the first in the world to re-start services with the aircraft. Executives at airlines have estimated they will need between one and two months, if not more, to prepare their grounded aircraft, complete the needed pilot training, and integrate the MAX into their network schedule.
Assuming all goes according to plan, we estimate that the 737 MAX will begin to enter revenue service only by September 2020 or later.
Other aviation regulators, including India’s DGCA have indicated they will independently look at the MAX re-entry into service, which will further add to the timeline.
Indian low-fare carrier Spicejet, who uses the 737, the world’s best-selling narrow-body aircraft, as its fleet mainstay, will miss the MAX for peak summer travel season. We expect the airline will augment its fleet using short term wet-leases which will drive up costs for the already stressed airline.
Stay tuned to Bangalore Aviation for updates.
Full text of Boeing statement
Boeing Statement on 737 MAX Return to Service
CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2020 — As we have emphasized, the FAA and other global regulators will determine when the 737 MAX returns to service. However, in order to help our customers and suppliers plan their operations, we periodically provide them with our best estimate of when regulators will begin to authorize the ungrounding of the 737 MAX.
We are informing our customers and suppliers that we are currently estimating that the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020. This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process. It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review of the 737 MAX’s flight control system and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board process which determines pilot training requirements.
Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen. We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 MAX has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers, and the flying public. We will provide additional information about our efforts to safely return the 737 MAX to service in connection with our quarterly financial disclosures next week.