Some U.S. airlines willing to take 737 MAX jets before pilot training approval - sources

By Tracy Rucinski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some U.S.

Reuters November 13, 2019 07:07:08 IST
Some U.S. airlines willing to take 737 MAX jets before pilot training approval - sources

Some US airlines willing to take 737 MAX jets before pilot training approval  sources

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some U.S. airlines are willing to pick up their 737 MAX jets from Boeing Co as soon as December if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves delivery of the grounded planes before new pilot training is agreed, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Hundreds of 737 MAX jets have rolled off Boeing's Seattle production line in the months since two fatal crashes on the aircraft led to a global safety ban, forcing the planemaker to park un-flown jets at facilities across Washington state until regulators approve software and training updates.

Boeing on Monday said the FAA could issue an order approving the plane's return to service in December, even though approval for training changes would take more time.

The FAA has repeatedly said that it has set no time frame for the process. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said on Tuesday that a decision for the MAX "will be made solely on our assessment of the sufficiency of Boeing's proposed software updates and pilot training."

By starting to hand over 737 MAX jets, Boeing would get a head start on what airlines predict will be the biggest delivery logjam in civil aviation history, while also protecting output. The longer the 737 MAX grounding lasts, the longer it will take Boeing to work through deliveries and the higher the risk it will have to halt production of the money-spinning MAX.

The people with knowledge of the situation spoke on condition of anonymity due to continued uncertainty surrounding a definitive return-to-service date.

Southwest Airlines , American Airlines Group Inc and United Airlines , which had MAX aircraft in their fleets at the time of the March grounding and more on order, have had to repeatedly extend daily flight cancellations as they await regulatory approval.

Alaska Air Group Inc was expecting to receive its first 737 MAX deliveries this year.

The conditions for 737 MAX delivery or contract terms were not disclosed, raising questions on whether any movements would be more of a pre-positioning rather than an actual delivery. Aircraft deliveries entail extensive paperwork, lawyers, and crucially, payment.

One benefit is that aircraft do not depreciate until they start flying, so while an aircraft may be sitting, it still retains the same value until it begins to fly, one person said.

Some 737 MAX jets are in long-term storage with their engines sealed to prevent invasion from birds and wildlife, while others are receiving nearly daily checks that would enable a quicker return to flight. Either way, there is an expense.

Boeing has already set aside billions to compensate airlines for the cost of the grounding.

Still, Southwest, American and United have all said that they want their MAX orders as soon as possible.

"Not being at the front of the line may impact each airline's delivery plans," said Greg Bowen, committee chairman for training and standards at the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.