The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has told Boeing’s chief executive to relax the company’s push to speed up the recertification of the troubled 737 Max airplane.

The 737 Max aircraft was grounded last March. This came after the second of two deadly crashes that were primarily caused by a faulty flight control system on the planes. Two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia together killed 346 people.

FAA certification of the Max is now not expected until February at the earliest. US airlines Southwest and American Airlines have pulled the plane from schedules and canceled 737 Max flights into April 2020.

Boeing has repeatedly warned investors that output could be cut again. Production lines could be temporarily shut down altogether if the flight ban drags on longer.

This disruption seriously brings into question Boeing’s ability to meet customer demand and has greatly tarnished the company’s reputation.

Airlines will now be debating whether Boeing is the best option moving forward. If any further delays like this are repeated it could be catastrophic to businesses within the entire production line.

737 Max crisis may have influenced Qantas decision on Project Sunrise

Qantas has picked Airbus over Boeing to carry out the world’s longest flights, compounding Boeing’s 737 Max woes.

Qantas announced on the 13th December that it would use Airbus planes for “Project Sunrise.” This intends to operate regular non-stop flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to London and New York.

The 19-hour journeys would be the longest passenger flights ever run by a commercial airline. They are still in the research phase.

Qantas said in a statement, ‘After detailed evaluation of the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350, Qantas has selected the A350-1000 as the preferred aircraft if Sunrise proceeds.’

No orders have been placed yet. However, Qantas will work closely with Airbus to prepare contract terms for up to 12 aircraft ahead of a final decision by the Qantas Board.

Qantas decision could be tip of the iceberg

Boeing shares are down about 20% since the second crash in March. Further delays could worsen the situation as more airlines will seek out alternative suppliers.

The plane’s grounding has cost airlines around the world hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. This led to Boeing receiving a $5 billion after-tax charge in the second quarter. This was to compensate airlines hit by the flight ban.

The new year will be crucial for Boeing. They need to reassure shareholders quickly in order to get things back on track.

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