Washington : Boeing on Wednesday (local time) said that it was considering the possibility of halting the production of 737 Max if the grounding of the aircraft continues further.
Boeing has continued to build the 737 Max, its bestselling jet, although at a slower pace. The plane has been grounded since mid-March because of two fatal crashes that killed more than 300 people.
Boeing hopes to get approval for the plane to fly again sometime early in the fourth quarter. CEO Dennis Muilenburg was quoted as saying by CNN that any further delays in approval to fly the 737 Max again could jeopardize its production.
A further slowdown or temporary shutdown of 737 Max production is “not something we want to do, but an alternative that we have to prepare for,” Muilenburg told investors on a conference call.
He added that the company needs to prepare for that “to make sure we’ve covered all scenarios.”
It is unclear when the 737 Max will be allowed to return to service. Boeing is working on a software fix to a safety system which is believed to have caused the two crashes.
But it says it won’t be able to present that fix to aviation authorities until September at the earliest, and it hopes to have a certification flight in October.
Because of the grounding, the company reported its largest loss ever – amounting to USD 3.7 billion –in the second quarter. Boeing said any slowdown or halt in production could lead to even more losses. The slower pace of 737 Max production has already increased Boeing’s production costs by about USD 1.7 billion.
The company had already warned investors that it would take a USD five billion profit hit from its inability to deliver the 737 Max to its customers.