Since the MAX’s complete flight ban on March 13, Boeing’s strategy has always been to work to lift the ban as quickly as possible. Maintaining the production rate of the B737 at 42 aircraft per month aims to minimize the impact on the number of deliveries in 2019, thus protecting its annual balance sheet.
But after more than three months of no-fly, the solution for the safe return of the MAX is still not up to date and the FAA has identified a new and equally dangerous flaw, and asked Boeing to find a solution. It will take Boeing and the FAA another two to three months to find a solution, do the validation and then the flight tests. It will then be necessary to obtain the approval of all the agencies of the other countries involved. The scenario of lifting the flight ban in the months of November or December seems to be the most plausible for the moment.
As time went by, Boeing’s Plan A, which was counting on a quick return in service of the MAX with minimal disruption, is no longer effective, as airplanes continued to accumulate in the four storage areas at a rate of nearly 40 per month. At the moment there are nearly 500 B737MAX in flight condition stored around the planet. Maintaining the current production rate of the B737MAX will add 160 to 200 more aircraft to the storage site causing a logistical nightmare when returning them to flight. There can be no assurance that airlines will want to receive MAXs in the reverse order of storage. Some customers will be ready faster than others and will want their airplane as soon as possible while others will prefer to wait.
In addition, if the ban is lifted at the beginning of the cold and slow winter season, the airlines will not be in a hurry to receive the new aircraft that are under the responsibility of Boeing until they are delivered. Some scenarios mention that delivery of all assembled but undelivered MAXs will run until 2021.
Plan A having failed, it is time for Boeing to work on Plan B and to anticipate a slowdown in the production of the MAX to avoid sinking into a logistical nightmare that could last a long time.
Of all the organizations operating planes in the world, only the US Air Force has more planes than Boeing that are stored and can be returned to service within a reasonable time. But she has never done the exercise of returning into service hundreds of aircraft in a short time. The US Air Force will probably want to study how the all these MAXs will be returned to flight in order to improve its own mass return in service procedure.>>> Follow us on Facebook and Twitter