Boeing Temporarily Suspends Production of 737 Max Planes
Boeing is suspending production of the 737 Max starting in January as the aircraft remains grounded around the world.
"This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft," the company said in a statement on Monday evening. "We will continue to assess our progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly."
Boeing stated that throughout the grounding of the beleaguered plane, they have continued to build new ones leaving them with 400 in storage.
The announcement comes after a two-day board meeting as the company's reputation, and stock has fallen. Shares in the company falling 25 percent since March, The New York Times reported at the time of the announcement, noting that the company has already announced more than $8 billion in charges related to the crisis.
Some estimates predicted that the 737 Max could be cleared for takeoff in February or March of 2020, barring any unforeseen issues with the aircraft.
The company insisted that the production halt would not affect its employees. Those who worked directly on the 737 Max would continue to do so or be relocated to Boeing's location in Puget Sound, Wash.
"As we have throughout the 737 MAX grounding, we will keep our customers, employees, and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess appropriate actions," the company said. "This will include efforts to sustain the gains in production system and supply chain quality and health made over the last many months."
Boeing was producing about 52 Max jets per month and cut back to 42 jets per month since the grounding in March. The manufacturer has been unable to deliver any of the jets it has built in the past nine months.
More than 800 737 Max aircraft are around the world and currently grounded following the tragic crashes in October 2018 and in March of this year, that killed over 300 people. And about 500 of those aircraft are parked around Washington, from Seattle to the eastern side of the state, waiting for delivery according to the Seattle Times.
Last week, FAA Chief Stephen Dickson said during a House hearing that the Boeing 737 Max wouldn’t be re-certified to fly until 2020.
"The FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service," Boeing's statement said. "We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered."