Boeing details steps needed to get grounded Max jet flying

DAVID KOENIG

Boeing hopes to resume deliveries of its 737 Max jet to airlines in December and win regulatory approval to restart commercial service with the plane in January.

Boeing shares rose in midday trading Monday.

The company spelled out several steps that it needs to complete before the grounded plane can carry passengers again.

Pilot training has emerged as a key issue around the plane's return — and an area where Boeing failed when it introduced the plane in 2017. The timetable that the company laid out Monday would allow it to generate cash by delivering planes even before the Federal Aviation Administration approves new training material for pilots.

Boeing said it has demonstrated changes to the plane during sessions with the FAA in a flight simulator. It still must show regulators those changes during one or more certification flights.

Boeing's expectations around the timing of the Max's return have proven too optimistic many times before. Even after the FAA approves a training regimen, airlines will need time to retrain pilots, and they plan to conduct flights — likely with executives and reporters on board — to demonstrate to the public that the plane is safe.

Two big U.S. customers — Southwest and American — say they don't expect the Max to carry passengers until early March — a year after the plane was grounded following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

Boeing has continued to pump out about 42 Max jets a month at its factory in the Seattle area, but it has been burning through cash because it can't deliver those planes and get paid by the airlines.

In midday trading, shares of Chicago-based Boeing Co. rose $13.77, or 3.9%, to $364.77.