Boeing has announced it will suspend production of the 737 MAX starting in January 2020 due to certification, the company said.
Throughout the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has continued to build new airplanes and there are now approximately 400 airplanes in storage. The company has previously stated that it would continually evaluate its production plans should the MAX grounding continue longer than expected. As a result of this ongoing evaluation, Boeing has decided to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 program beginning next month.
Boeing said safely returning the 737 MAX to service is the company´s top priority. It knows that the process of approving the 737 MAX´s return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust, to ensure that the regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 MAX updates. As Boeing has previously said, the FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service. The company remains fully committed to supporting this process.
Boeing believes this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. 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 the company can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft. Boeing will continue to assess its progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly.
During this time, the company´s plan is that affected employees will continue 737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams in Puget Sound. As Boeing has throughout the 737 MAX grounding, the company will keep its customers, employees, and supply chain top of mind as it continues to assess appropriate actions. This will include efforts to sustain the gains in production system and supply chain quality and health made over the last many months.