Boeing expects to do its 737 Max recertification flight by the end of June, multiple people have told CNBC.
The people familiar with Boeing’s plans said the recertification flight may actually be more than one flight over the course of a couple of days. They said the company has drawn up a flight plan that will demonstrate that the plane’s updated flight-control software allows the Max to safely operate in various scenarios.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly because the plans are confidential.
Boeing declined to comment.
Boeing resumed production of the 737 Max planes in May, although the jet has been grounded since March 2019 after the second of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The manufacturer halted production of the jetliners in January. Getting the 737 Max back in the air has taken longer than the company anticipated it would.
The Federal Aviation Administration also declined to comment on the timing of a 737 Max recertification flight, but a spokesperson said: “The FAA is in regular contact with Boeing as the company continues its work on the 737 Max. The manufacturer must demonstrate compliance with all certification standards. The aircraft will be cleared for return to passenger service only after the FAA is satisfied that all safety-related issues are addressed.”
Boeing, not the FAA, determines when the plane is ready for this critical step in getting it approved to fly. That said, the company has been in constant communication with the FAA and would not propose a recertification flight if it were not certain it would pass.
Shares of Boeing were recently down about 3.4%. The stock has fallen more than 40% over the past year, weighed down by troubles with the 737 Max as well as the collapse of travel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Boeing has been looking to cut costs as it has seen a surge in order cancellations this year.