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737 Max

FAA to Boeing: Stop Telling People the MAX Is Coming Back

FAA to Boeing: Stop Telling People the MAX Is Coming Back
Taylor Rains

Last week, a critical discussion between the FAA and Boeing’s CEO regarding the 737 MAX’s return-to-service took place. FAA Administrator, Stephen Dickson, called a meeting with Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, to tell him to “pull back on public statements about an imminent return to service for the 737 MAX” as many believe that Boeing’s current goal is far-fetched and unrealistic.

“Back Off”

The FAA is not happy with Boeing’s public statements, suggesting they were aimed at putting pressure on the agency to quickly sign off on the MAX’s airworthiness. In an email, the authority said, “The purpose of the meeting is to ensure Boeing is clear on FAA’s expectations regarding the ongoing review of the 737 MAX. The Administrator is concerned that Boeing continues to pursue a return-to-service schedule that is not realistic. The perception that some of Boeing’s public statements have been designed to force FAA into taking quicker action.”

Dickson told Muilenburg, “Boeing’s focus should be on the quality and timeliness of data submittals for FAA review” and emphasized, “FAA’s certification requirements must be 100% complete before return to service.” He also made sure that Muilenburg understood “that FAA controls the review process” and that safety professionals will be conducting a full, thorough review of the MAX, regardless of how long it takes.

Both parties say that the meeting was productive. Muilenburg seems to understand Dickson’s comments, stating “Boeing reaffirmed with the FAA that safety is our top shared priority, and we committed to addressing all of the FAA’s questions as they assess MAX certification and training requirements. We will work with the FAA to support their requirements and their timeline as we work to safely return the Max to service in 2020.”

What’s Next

The MAX is looking at a mid-February re-certification date, nearing the March 13th anniversary of the aircraft’s grounding. As of now, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have pulled the aircraft from early 2020 schedules and canceled all MAX flights through April.

Shortly after that meeting, Boeing announced that they are stopping production on the 737 MAX.

View Comments (15)

15 Comments

  1. skidooman

    December 17, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    This is what Boeing needs to do: recertify. Nothing short of this will ever dissipate the doubts.

    And yes, this means years. These 900+ built planes aren’t going anywhere. Even if the FAA lets them get away with it, the Europeans, the Chinese and others won’t.

  2. Tailgater

    December 17, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    At Boeing’s Washington headquarters, they sell tshirts that say, “If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going.” Perhaps now, they should read, “I’m NOT going if it’s Boeing.”. What’s fiasco for Boeing, letting two of its planes crash before it even sits up straight and starts paying attention. You would think after the first inexplicable crash Boeing would have grounded the planes. Not even after the second crash did Boeing ground, the world’s airlines grounded it FIRST.

  3. Centurion

    December 17, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    The plane should never have had the name 737 as this suggests it is just another 737 when in fact is and was a new design

  4. ajtheiler1

    December 18, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Muilenburg, “….return the Max to service in 2020.” Adding ‘in 2020’ to the response increases the probability the MAX will be back in 2021 or later.

  5. OZFLYER86

    December 18, 2019 at 5:54 am

    FAA stuffed up originally & now they are going totally overboard. Typical public servants.

  6. kingbee

    December 18, 2019 at 6:19 am

    Why do I get the feeling that there is a lot of payback in the way the FAA is handling things this time around.

  7. mikem004

    December 18, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Just by looking at a picture of the MAX, you can tell that it is unbalanced.

  8. myisland

    December 18, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I’ll never fly on one.

  9. edgewood49

    December 19, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Mike, look at the new AB’s and the placement of their engines, it’s not just Boeing, Kingbee I think you onto something there, having said that BA is a disaster recently voted worse run US company. It will take ten years for them if ever to regain lost market share. I have a lot of air miles and now finding myself when looking at flights flying an AB when possible, which is hard when your a Alaska FF but they have them.

  10. dradamson

    December 19, 2019 at 10:17 am

    I’ve flown the 737 for a 3rd world national airline and the aircraft was the last thing you would have to worry about when flying.

  11. adventures_await

    December 19, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Boeing used to be an engineering driven company, McDonnell-Douglas was a profit driven company. McDonnell-Douglas had multiple issues with their aircraft such as the DC-10 in which profit was prioritized over engineering. There are many articles about this you can Google.
    When Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas merged it was the executives from McDonnell-Douglas who took over management of the merged company and started running Boeing they was they ran McDonnell-Douglas, profit over engineering.
    Airplane industry experts over the years have stated that it was McDonnell-Douglas which took over Boeing not the other was around.
    This is an example of the result.

  12. edgewood49

    December 19, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Witness the DC 10

  13. am1108

    December 19, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    @Centurion The plane is a 737 that has been modified and is named as such since it’s built on a 50 year platform.

  14. IanFromHKG

    December 23, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    dradamson said “I’ve flown the 737 for a 3rd world national airline and the aircraft was the last thing you would have to worry about when flying.”

    The clear implication is that there is an inherent risk in flying third world airlines.

    However, I’m not sure what point you are really making here. Are you saying that the flights you piloted were inherently unsafe because they were run by a third world airline despite your own expertise? Or perhaps suggesting the training was inadequate (which would be ironic given the known MCAS training shortcomings)?

    You do seem to imply that people flying with you should be worried about safety issues. Yet you still piloted the ‘plane?? Don’t you feel that you have an ethical imperative that should override your own career opportunities?

    I’m very confused by your position here.

  15. horseymike

    December 26, 2019 at 6:46 am

    the 737 is a great airplane. the 737 max is a trainwreck. there is a huge difference.

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