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Boeing CEO says he expects to resume 737 MAX production before mid-year

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Boeing CEO says he expects to resume 737 MAX production before mid-year

By David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski

 

2020-01-22T192541Z_1_LYNXMPEG0L260_RTROPTP_3_BOEING-737MAX.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Aerial photos showing Boeing 737 Max airplanes parked at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. October 20, 2019. Picture taken October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Gary He/File Photo

 

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told reporters on Wednesday the U.S. planemaker expects to resume 737 MAX production months before its forecasted mid-year return to service and said it did not plan to suspend or cut its dividend.

 

The company announced a production halt in December, when the global grounding of the fast-selling 737 MAX following two deadly crashes in five months looked set to last into mid-2020.

 

Calhoun said the company is not considering scrapping the MAX and expects it will continue to fly for a generation. He also said it will not launch a marketing campaign to get customers to get back on 737 MAX planes.

 

He also disclosed Boeing is starting with a "clean sheet of paper" on a New Midsize Airplane but it is not clear if the company is scrapping the existing design.

 

The company said on Tuesday it now expects regulators to approve the plane's return to service in the middle of the year. Calhoun said he did not see recent issues raised about wiring or software as "serious problems."

 

Boeing shares were down 2% on Wednesday.

 

Calhoun said Boeing is not planning to cut or suspend the dividend because Boeing has the "financial capacity and capability to do the things we need to do." Calhoun said he "will stay on that path unless something dramatic changes."

 

Calhoun declined to provide a specific date for resumption of production, but said it "will be reinvigorated months before that moment in June because we have to get that line started up again." He also said the company would make some changes to the 737 MAX production line to make it more efficient.

 

The CEO said the company "will slowly, steadily bring our production rate up a few months before that date in the middle of the year." He said the company was not planning to lay off any employees because of the latest delay in the MAX.

 

The latest push back in the forecasted return to service is due to the company's decision to endorse simulator training for pilots before they resume flights, Calhoun said. "We can get this thing back on its horse and we will," he added.

 

Calhoun was a director at Boeing for a decade before taking over as CEO earlier this month. The board ousted Dennis Muilenburg in December amid rising anger by regulators, politicians and customers.

 

He said the company should have not have repeatedly revised the plane's forecasted return. "It was hard for anybody to trust us," Calhoun said.

 

Calhoun said before certification there will be "a few more things somewhere along the way that the FAA and us will determine need a little extra work and we'll do it. They won't be big emergencies things, they won't be things that take the airplane down."

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-23

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1 hour ago, observer90210 said:

Really ?

I will check before, but on check-in, if it's a 737, I just won't set foot in the flying coffin. No matter what it costs to change the ticket, better then to cost me life !!!

I was wondering the same,

could airlines now risk that passengers quite simpy avoid buying tickets if the plane is a 737 MAX?

 

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20 minutes ago, melvinmelvin said:

I was wondering the same,

could airlines now risk that passengers quite simpy avoid buying tickets if the plane is a 737 MAX?

 

old plane 737 no probs.

new one no way i'd be happy booking a flight .....

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Ironically, and probably tragically, after this amount of scrutiny the MAX is gonna be one of he safest aircraft in the air.

 

It's true that the first real modern age aircraft tragedy was the de Havilland Comet. 

 

First jet airliner, but flawed. But it did result in what we now expect in regulatory oversight, and incident investigation.

 

It's arguable that then the Mark IV entered service after all the redesigned it was one of the best aircraft in the world at the time 

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I’d fly Boeing anytime it will be fixed and safe

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3 hours ago, mrfill said:

Ryanair have solved the problem of the reluctant customer not wishing to book on a 737MAX - they renamed it the 8200...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48995509

 

 

Ryanair come last in the customer satisfaction survey. At one point they were considering charging customers to go to the plane toilet. There is cheapo, mucho cheapo, then Ryanair. When you fly the MAX  with them you will probably be charged extra for the excitement factor - though others would call it raw fear. 

 

MAX should have been re-designed from scratch, but Airbus would have had a head start with the 320 Neo. As it is, it's like putting a Rolls Royce engine in an old pick up.

 

If I had more choice I would fly the amazingly quiet A350 on long haul, but to be fair the 787 is a good plane as long as the batteries don't go on fire.  

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Good to know, before buy a ticket ensure what plane it is and make them sign paper that you refuse to travel on a boring 737 max, if they change plane at least shall pay penalties to you.

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10 hours ago, webfact said:

Calhoun said Boeing is not planning to cut or suspend the dividend because Boeing has the "financial capacity and capability to do the things we need to do." Calhoun said he "will stay on that path unless something dramatic changes."

Right. And that's why they're taking a $10 billion loan.

  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/20/737-max-crisis-boeing-seeks-to-borrow-10-billion-or-more.html

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23 minutes ago, GinBoy2 said:

Well there is no debate that this has, and will continue to be a huge financial drag on the company.

 

But it's a failure of regulatory oversight and commercial hubris.

 

The rather obvious analogy would be with the Volkswagen diesel debacle.

 

In both cases the companies used software to hide design flaws and commercial expediency.

 

MCAS is not new, in fact it's used on the KC-67. The difference being, in that implementation if the AOA sensor fails, the pilot always wins over MCAS. Exactly the opposite was true with MCAS on the MAX.

 

So why was that done? Commercial greed.

 

Been a while since I was involved in aeronautical design, but it doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

 

The airframe is larger, and to accomodate the larger CFM engines they needed to be mounted further forward on the wing. That in itself makes it a fundamentally different aerodynamic aircraft than previous versions of the 737. Thats why MCAS was installed to 'protect' the aircraft if an unsafe Angle of Attack was detected.

 

But what the commercial division marketed was an aircraft that required no additional simulator training, and a simple DVD CBT course would address the differences. 

 

In point of fact, the training didn't even address the fact of what MCAS was and how it could affect flight parameters, because I think that would have exposed the aerodynamic differences to the end user.

 

Therein lies the problem. This is not a varient of the 737, but in reality a new aircraft which should have been marketed as such, and required the same simulator training as for any new plane

The problem with Boeing is constructional from top to bottom. Boeing, after merging with McDonnell Douglas, became unbalanced company when it came to manufacturing airplanes. The management structure shifted from engineering point of view towards purely financial point of view. 

 

When the engineers would have wanted to make good planes, which are properly tested and tested again, the financial ideology aka greed, dictated shortcuts, pushing manufacturing to subcontractors, who also wanted to cut costs and therefore quality and checks. 

 

The problems with Boeing started before 737-Max was even on a planning table. 

 

Once the plane was designed and prototypes build, one of the cost saving measurements was not to offer pilots proper training of this airplane. Few hours doing a quiz on a iPad was enough. Enough for Boeing, enough for airliners, enough for FAA. 

 

While Boeing has produced quality airplanes in the past, after all these cost cuttings, who can anymore be sure, their new airframes and embedded technologies, are really safe? As they were not anymore safe as proven by these accidents. 

 

 

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The 737 brand is irreversibly damaged IMO and needs to be rebranded.  

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