Boeing announced today that it will suspend 737 MAX production beginning in January 2020. The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since 13 March 2019 following two deadly crashes linked to the aircraft’s MCAS system. The manufacturer has continued to produce around 40 planes per month with approximately 400 now in storage at various facilities.
Update 20 December — Spirit Aerosystems suspending production of 737 MAX fuselages in January
Spirit Aerosystems, the supplier of 737 MAX fuselages, announced on 20 December that it will halt all 737 MAX fuselage deliveries to Boeing and suspend 737 MAX production on 1 January 2020.
Boeing has previously warned that a production halt could be necessary should the grounding persist. Recent developments in the MAX’s certification efforts have extended the timeline for a possible certification and return to service into 2020.
In its statement today, Boeing says employees working on the 737 will continue ‘737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams’. You may read the full statement below.
Boeing’s statement on the 737 MAX production suspension
CHICAGO, Dec. 16, 2019 — Safely returning the 737 MAX to service is our top priority. We know that the process of approving the 737 MAX’s return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust, to ensure that our regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 MAX updates. As we have previously said, the FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service. We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered.
Throughout the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has continued to build new airplanes and there are now approximately 400 airplanes in storage. We have previously stated that we would continually evaluate our production plans should the MAX grounding continue longer than we expected. As a result of this ongoing evaluation, we have decided to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 program beginning next month.
We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft. We will continue to assess our progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly.
During this time, it is our plan that affected employees will continue 737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams in Puget Sound. As we have throughout the 737 MAX grounding, we will keep our customers, employees, and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess appropriate actions. This will include efforts to sustain the gains in production system and supply chain quality and health made over the last many months.
We will provide financial information regarding the production suspension in connection with our 4Q19 earnings release in late January.Boeing statement
Tracking the 737 MAX
737 MAX currently in production are conducting test flights and airlines that have already taken delivery are allowed to operate the aircraft for storage or maintenance purposes. For the most common 737 MAX variant, the 737 MAX 8, use aircraft filter code ’B38M’. For the 737 MAX 9, use ‘B39M’. And for the the smallest variant, the 737 MAX 7, use ‘B37M’. Boeing’s 737 MAX test aircraft used in certification tests is registered N7201S.