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Jan. 22, 2020, 7:19 a.m. EST

Boeing says it doesn’t expect 737 Max return until mid-2020

Timeline subject to ‘ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks,’ Boeing says

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By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft parked at a southern California airport in March.

Boeing Co. said Tuesday that its grounded 737 Max jets likely won’t be approved to return to service until mid-2020.

Boeing /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA -1.75%  shares were halted ahead of the announcement, when they were down 5.5%. They resumed trading off 4.8%.

“This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process. It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process,” Boeing said in a statement.

That timeline “also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step” of their review of the 737 Max’s flight control systems and future pilot training requirements, the company said.

The 737 Max jets have been grounded since March after two deadly crashes less than five months apart, and the company has been mired in criticism for the way it handled the plane’s certification and further missteps in the recertification.

Related: Boeing 737 Max major supplier to lay off thousands of workers

A return-to-the-skies date, initially thought to take only a few weeks, has stretched for months on end, with the company announcing a 737 Max production halt in December.

Several allegations of Boeing mishandling the plane’s certification and post-crashes recertification have surfaced. Earlier this month, a trove of emails surfaced against Boeing, including a recent trove of internal emails showing Boeing workers mocking the 737 Max’s design and bragging about fooling federal regulators.

Boeing shares have lost 16% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains of 24% and 18% for the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.05%  and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.78%  

/zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 330.38
-5.90 -1.75%
Volume: 3.71M
Feb. 21, 2020 6:30p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
2.49%
Market Cap
$189.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
$660,961
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,337.75
-35.48 -1.05%
Volume: 2.12B
Feb. 21, 2020 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
28,992.41
-227.57 -0.78%
Volume: 313.44M
Feb. 21, 2020 5:16p
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Claudia Assis is a San Francisco-based reporter for MarketWatch. Follow her on Twitter @ClaudiaAssisMW.

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