By Stacey Leasca
September 24, 2019

Following two tragic plane crashes, airlines and entire nations collectively grounded Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft in early 2019. The fleet has been sitting idle since March as investigators get to the bottom as to what exactly caused two of the planes to crash shortly after takeoff, taking the lives of hundreds of passengers with it. Though authorities now certify the planes are safe, the Federal Aviation Administration says it's up to each individual nation to decide when the planes will take to the sky again.

According to USA Today, FAA chief Stephen Dickson said his agency has no timetable for reviewing changes that Boeing made to the plane, thus no set date for its return in the United States.

However, experts believe allowing countries to pick their own return dates could harm the entire airline industry.

“It will not improve the trust of the general public in the system” if countries have their own plans for the planes’ return, Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association, said in a press briefing Tuesday, CNBC reported.

As for what Boeing wants to happen, the company's CEO Dennis Muilenburg said during a conference, "I think a phased ungrounding of the airplane amongst regulators from around the world is a possibility."

Still, even if all countries decide to return the fleet at once it will likely be a while before passengers begin boarding 737 Max planes. USA Today reported, airlines around the world are still waiting on regulators to approve Boeing's fixes and release any necessary training material before they return. For its part, Boeing would like to see their aircraft return to service by the end of the year.

There is, however, one thing Boeing will get done by the end of the year. And that is paying out the victim’s families. The company announced Monday it will begin paying $50 million in financial assistance to the families of more than 300 victims, CNN reported. That number, CNN explained, works out to $144,500 for each of the families.

In a statement, Boeing explained, "The recent 737 MAX tragedies weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of all those on board.”

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