On September 11, 2019, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing, Dennis Muilenburg, spoke at the Morgan Stanley 7th Annual Laguna Conference at Laguna Beach, California. Muilenburg touched upon a few key subjects, but the 737 MAX crisis and the forthcoming end to the groundings were the main topics of Boeing’s presentation.

 

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At a workshop organised in Cologne on 7 and 8 December 2015, the European Aviation Safety Agency presented draft proposals on how to implement the recommendations made in July 2015 by the EASA-led Task Force on the accident of Germanwings Flight 9525.
 

Boeing is trying to steer through adversity without conceding too much damage to its brand and financial results. “The situation with the 737 MAX continues to be our focus,” Muilenburg noted as he started his speech, adding that “we continue to send our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who were affected by the two accidents”.

The 737 MAX return to service remains the biggest question as Boeing continues to make “solid progress” and is “actively engaged with regulators around the world”. Nevertheless, the solid progress has encountered trouble, as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) executive director Patrick Ky, while speaking at the European Parliament, has pointed to the fact that Boeing is yet to provide a working solution to some of the issues. In addition, EASA will test the 737 MAX software changes individually, rather than relying on the FAA.

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The last chapter of the 737 MAX seems to be getting more complex, as EASA has confirmed it will test flight the aircraft itself, instead of delegating the tests to FAA.
 

Muilenburg remains hopeful on the previously aimed timeline and “is targeting early fourth quarter [Q4 2019 – ed. note] for return to service of the 737 MAX”. However, he also expressed that the biggest concern for Boeing is “regulator alignment”. While Boeing is submitting “various certification documents” and is answering open questions from agencies worldwide, the discrepancies between agencies is “creating a timeline uncertainty”. A turn of events, where the 737 MAX returns to service on a country-by-country basis, is, according to Muilenburg, “a possibility”. “The FAA is working very hard to build that collaborative network amongst the regulators,” he stated, adding that “this process is about safety” and “not the politics”.