Boeing’s 737 Max is unlikely to be cleared to fly again before October, according to an official from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
While the official told Reuters the aircraft will likely remain grounded until the autumn, the FAA said on Tuesday that it intends to issue recommendations to Boeing on changes and fixes made to the grounded aircraft.
Boeing had initially hoped the aircraft would be flying again by the middle of 2020 but with the onset of the coronavirus crisis, few airline customers are keen to take on additional capacity any time soon.
The 737 Max, which had been Boeing’s best-selling plane, has been grounded for more than a year after two separate crashes killed 346 people.
Its grounding has cost Boeing some $18 billion, with the manufacturer losing 355 orders for its troubled jet in the first half of 2020.
But according to Reuters, Boeing plans to resume deliveries before October, subject to regulatory approval.
“Boeing is working closely with the FAA and other international regulators to meet their expectations as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service,” Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe told the news agency.
Earlier this month, the FAA and Boeing completed three days of certification test flights putting the 737 Max’s automated flight control system through its paces.