The saga of the Boeing 737 Max isn’t over just yet. After months of grounding the aircraft and rolling out new updates, Boeing has decided to suspend production of the 737 Max in January. Despite the drawdown in production, Boeing has said that it does not plan to lay off or furlough workers at the Washington factory where the model is manufactured, although some of those workers will be temporarily reassigned.
A review of the planes by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently underway, and will continue into 2020 — longer than Boeing had initially hoped. The planes have been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes prompted an investigation into the model’s failures, and this prolonged lapse in service has finally forced Boeing to pump the breaks on manufacturing.
In a statement, Boeing said, “We know 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 our regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 Max updates. The FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service. We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered.”
It’s not yet clear how long Boeing will suspend production of the 737 Max, though US airlines have taken the plane off their schedules through at least March. Until then, the approximately 400 planes that have been manufactured since the grounding began will continue to sit in the manufacturing facilities, waiting for the green light from regulators.