Boeing is hoping for a return to service of the 737 MAX in 4th Quarter of 2019 after conducting almost 500 test flights.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg addressing a Global Business Travel Association conference in Chicago said that he hopes all the test flights will help win back the confidence of the flying public.
“We know that trust has been damaged over the last few months, and we own that and we are working hard to re-earn that trust going forward.”
Muilenburg told CNBC that the company has focused on updating the software to make the Boeing 737 Max as safe as possible.
In fact, Boeing and the FAA are designing software for some scenarios that have never happened.
Muilenburg said that Boeing will submit its certification package to the FAA in September, and that he expects the MAX to return service early in the 4th quarter.
Boeing has taken an after-tax charge of $US4.9 billion in its second quarter to cover “potential concessions and other considerations to the customers” relating to the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet and other delays.
Last month Boeing received a major boost when airline holding company IAG said it would “definitely” turn its Letter of Intent to take 200 Boeing 737 MAXs, signed at the Paris Air Show, into firm orders.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh told AirlineRatings in Brussels; “I have never held back that we are dissatisfied with Airbus, as deliveries of A320neos to Vueling were on average 70 days late.”
“I know what I am doing as a former 737 pilot myself, and this order is not due to alleged rock bottom prices from Boeing, but the fact that we need at least a healthy duopoly of manufacturers.”
He was supported in his views by Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.
O’Leary’s airline holds unfulfilled orders for 135 737 MAXs in the special MAX 200 version with 197 seats, plus holding 75 options.
“Currently we only have placed orders for up until 2024, so we are looking for more,” O’Leary told journalists.
“My fleet is 450 aircraft this summer and I have 55 aircraft on order for next summer.”
He ruled out any suggestion Boeing should go back to producing 737NGs, making the MAX Ryanair’s only option.