Boeing restarts 737 MAX production

Production launch of the first ever 737 MAX back in 2015. Photo: © Boeing

Boeing has restarted limited production of the troubled 737 MAX aircraft family at its factory in Renton, Washington. The work had been suspended since January this year.

The US American aircraft manufacturer says it has now resumed building 737 MAX, but does so at a low rate. Production is set to gradually increase output over the course of this year. However, it was not immediately clear when the original (pre-grounding) monthly output would be reached.

Walt Odisho, vice president and general manager of the 737 program, stated that during the stop, Boeing worked to ‘evolve’ the production system, allowing for a more efficient manufacturing now.

The steps we’ve taken in the factory will help drive our goal of 100 percent quality for our customers while supporting our ongoing commitment to workplace safety.Scott Stocker, vice president of Boeing 737 Manufacturing

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes in October 2018 and March 2019. Both were related to a system called MCAS, which malfunctioned due to incorrect sensor inputs and forced the aircraft into a dive. As a result, Boeing stopped delivering new airplanes and initially reduced production, before entirely stopping it earlier this year. Several hundred airplanes of the type remain on the ground for now, both factory-new and previously delivered ones – completely unrelated to the currently ongoing Coronavirus crisis.

In April, the 737 reached 500 cancellations in 2020 alone. The aircraft is still waiting for a re-certification and approval to return to commercial service.

Earlier this Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announced that the company will lay off almost 7,000 US-based employees.