It was revealed just this week that Boeing and federal regulators had discovered a new issue with the Boeing 737 MAX jet. And Boeing now admits that the new issue won't be fixed until September at the earliest.
According to Reuters, that means the troubled jet won't return to the skies until at least October – and perhaps even later. Even if Boeing fixes a microprocessor issue that caused problems in recent test flights early in the fall, the Federal Aviation Administration still needs to recertify the plane – a process that takes weeks.
Boeing and the FAA have been focused on correcting a software system known as MCAS. It was designed to prevent the plane from stalling but is believed to have pulled down the 737 MAX in Indonesia last October and again in Ethiopia in March.
The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since the Ethiopian Airlines crash caused an international panic. And it's been a pain for airlines in the U.S. and abroad, causing thousands of flight cancellations.
The three U.S. airlines with MAX planes in their fleets – American, Southwest, and United – stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars due to the grounding. The three airlines had initially hoped to get the planes back in the air by the start of the busy summer travel season.
Southwest has already removed the plane from its schedules until October. Watch for other airlines to follow suit.
It could still be many months before we see the Boeing 737 MAX return to flying. And though a fix will come at some point, it may be tough to shake the image of a plane that was designed haphazardly.
Lead photo courtesy of Victor via Flickr