Donald Trump has said Boeing “is a big disappointment” to him after the planemaker announced the 737 Max would not be returning to the skies until at least ‘mid-2020’.
Boeing’s new estimate means that airlines may still be without the grounded plane during the busy summer travel season.
In an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Trump alluded to the size of the economic impact of the Max, describing Boeing as a “very disappointing company”.
Boeing’s Max has been grounded since March last year after two tragedies resulted in the deaths of 346 people.
Trump said: “This was one of the great companies of the world as of a year ago and then all of a sudden things happened. I am so disappointed. It had a tremendous impact. When you talk about growth, it’s so big that some people say that it’s more than a half-a-point of GDP, so Boeing, a big, big disappointment to me.”
Boeing initially planned to have the Max signed off by regulators by December 2019 but the Federal Aviation Administration, which will have the final call, has refused to be rushed into a decision.
Complications in solving faulty software have continued to delay the Max’s return. This month, Boeing froze production of the plane and relocated around 3,000 employees to other projects.
Meanwhile, Boeing’s new chief executive, Dave Calhoun, told reporters in a conference call that the manufacturer is rethinking its plans for a New Midsize Airplane (NMA) holding 220-270 passengers.
In his first conference call with the media since taking the helm earlier this month, Dave Calhoun said the company is going to start “with a clean sheet” and take a fresh approach to the market.
A spokesman for Boeing told Reuters that Calhoun has ordered a new study to find out what type of aircraft the market needs.
The spokesman said: “[Calhoun] has asked the team to do an assessment of the future market and what kind of airplane is needed to meet the future market.”
Initially, the NMA was designed to fill the niche gap between small, single aisle jets like the 737 and larger, long-haul aircraft like the 787.