The Boeing 737 Max has proved the aviation company’s most troubled airplane to date. Following the fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights respectively, production of the airplane was put on a five-month hiatus by the American firm.
That hiatus period has ended, and now Boeing has begun to scale up production once again. The most concerning element to all of this is that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is yet to clear the airplane for a return to passenger service.
As such it remains to be seen if Boeing’s production efforts are in vein, and the entire lineup of 737 Max planes are grounded indefinitely, but giving the costs associated with manufacturing the planes, clearance from the FAA might be a possibility.
For that to happen, Boeing would need to address several issues, particularly as it pertains to the software onboard the planes, which has been cited as contributing factors to the aforementioned crashes.
“We’ve been on a continuous journey to evolve our production system and make it even stronger,” explains Walt Odisho, VP and GM of the 737 program, regarding the restart of production.
“These initiatives are the next step in creating the optimal build environment for the 737 MAX,” he adds.
Boeing says it has spent the five-month hiatus period refining processes at its production facilities, and in particular looked at improving the quality of its manufacturing.
“The steps we’ve taken in the factory will help drive our goal of 100 percent quality for our customers while supporting our ongoing commitment to workplace safety,” notes Scott Stocker, VP of 737 manufacturing.
Whether that is indeed the case remains to be seen, but given the history of the 737 Max, as well as a lack of any clearance from the FAA at this stage, we wonder whether airlines will be willing to risk purchasing this plane in future.
Add to this numerous travel bans across the world, along with a general fear to travel in general, and airlines may need to prioritise spending elsewhere after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Either way it’s still puzzling as to why Boeing has decided to continue production of this ill-fated airplane.