FAA chief to meet Boeing top brass and test 737 MAX software changes

Darren Wood
By Darren Wood September 17, 2019 10:37

FAA chief to meet Boeing top brass and test 737 MAX software changes

The new Federal Administration Authority (FAA) chief executive officer Stephen Dickson is set to travel next week to test “newly configured” 737 MAX software changes and to meet with Boeing’s top brass.

Boeing has had constant problems surrounding its 737 MAX software, now the company is looking to take input from both angle-of-attack sensors in the MCAS anti-stall system linked to two deadly crashes that led to a global grounding of the plane in March.

But it is not clear when it will conduct a key certification test flight, a step needed before the FAA can return the plane to service. 

Boeing has said it plans to conduct a certification test flight in the “September time frame” but Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg did not give a specific date when asked last week.

Last month, Muilenberg reaffirmed his expectation that the company will have the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX jets lifted by the end of the year.

In a statement, Muilenburg said: “We are working through a software update. 

“We still anticipate submitting that certification package to the FAA in the September timeframe and are working toward a return to service of the Max in the fourth quarter.”

Major US airlines have cancelled flights into December as a result of the MAX grounding, including American Airlines Group and United Airlines, while Southwest Airlines has cancelled flights into early January. 

In its last financial posting, Boeing experienced its largest-ever quarterly loss as it warned that it might have to halt production of its 737 MAX aircraft if grounding continues much longer.

The company reported a loss of $3.4 billion in its secondquarter 2019 financial results – due to the troubled plane and the charges surrounding it.

Revenue for the firm was down 35% from the previous year to $15.8 billion, from $24.8 million experienced in 2018, with deliveries coming in at 90 commercial aircraft in the second quarter, down from 194 aircraft in the same period last year.

Boeing’s overall operating cash flow slumped to a negative $0.6 billion in the quarter, from $4.7 billion in the previous year. However, Boeing was quick to stress that this “primarily reflected lower 737 deliveries and production rate as well as timing of receipts and expenditures”.

Darren Wood
By Darren Wood September 17, 2019 10:37