Boeing announced a “temporary” halt to production of 737-Max passenger jets even as it is making efforts to deliver 400 aircraft kept “in storage” which had not been picked up by Airlines due to lack of safety clearance.
In 2018, all 346 people on board the two flights- a Lion Air 737 Max 8, and the same model operated by Ethiopian Airlines in March- were killed in the crashes, causing worldwide grounding of Boeing MAX planes.
"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," Boeing said in a statement Monday.
This decision is said to be 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 decision to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft.
"We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. We will continue to assess our progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly," the company stated further.
During this time, affected employees will continue 737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams in Puget Sound.
Boeing said it will provide financial information regarding the production suspension in its 4Q19 earnings release, in January 2020.