The U.S. is expected Wednesday to approve Boeing Co. ’s 737 MAX jets for passenger flights again after dual crashes took 346 lives, helping to resolve the plane maker’s biggest pre-pandemic crisis.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s official order to release the MAX, grounded since March 2019, comes as the beleaguered Chicago aerospace giant grapples with a host of new problems amid the continuing health crisis.
The FAA’s order for ungrounding would allow Boeing to resume delivering the jets to airlines and let them carry passengers. But the pandemic has sapped demand for air travel, prompting airlines and aircraft-leasing firms to cancel about 10% of Boeing’s outstanding MAX orders this year. Boeing has said it believes hundreds more of its remaining 4,102 orders could be in jeopardy.
With Boeing’s problem shifting from an inability to meet demand to an oversupply, the MAX crisis has become a double whammy.
The manufacturer has estimated the debacle had cost it about $20 billion, which includes financial hits related to halting production earlier this year. Engineering mistakes and management lapses provoked a tangle of civil litigation, a criminal investigation and congressional scrutiny.