Boeing has today released a progress update on getting the 737MAX recertified for commercial service but has failed to offer a timeline for winning approval from aviation regulators. Instead, the aerospace giant has simply said it is “making steady progress” on a second software patch for its flawed MCAS flight control system.
The aircraft manufacturer says it has added three additional layers of protection to the system in a bid to stop a repeat of two fatal accidents that killed all 346 passengers and crew onboard. “To date, we have conducted more than 800 test and production flights with the updated software, totaling more than 1,500 hours,” Boeing said in today’s update.
Several US-based airlines have pushed back estimated reintroduction dates of their 737MAX fleets until at least January and February 2020. The FAA, which is the agency responsible for granting final approval, hasn’t given any hints as to when that might come.
Boeing claims it is “unwavering” in its commitment to improving safety but today’s update comes just days after it was revealed that engineers may of known about issues with the MCAS system two years before 2018’s Lion Air crash.
In addition to the recertification update, Boeing also revealed that it had so far set aside $100 million for immediate financial assistance for the families of those killed in both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. Analysts predict Boeing is set to rack up billions of dollars worth of losses in connection with the 737MAX debacle.