Boeing is currently in “discussions” with all its customers including flydubai regarding the compensation to be paid out on issues related to the beleaguered 737 MAX jet.
In the case of flydubai’s grounded fleet, Boeing was ensuring planes are “preserved well” in terms of its hardware and updates, officials said.
Flydubai, one of the largest MAX operators with 250 of the new model narrow-body jets on order, grounded all its 14 MAX jets, accounting for roughly 10 per cent of its fleet.
The airline had to cancel up to 15 flights a day.
Boeing confirmed that the timeline for the MAX’s re-entry into service is still set to be determined by the US aviation regulator and its global peers.
Pilot evaluations will “shortly” take place on the MAX ahead of moving towards the crucial next stage of flight certification.
But speaking to reporters in Dubai ahead of the opening of the Dubai Airshow 2019, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Stan Deal said it wasn’t going to put a timeframe on when the beleaguered model would re-enter service – adding it was working closely with regulators, working on new flight controls and “robustly testing” the narrowbody’s competency.
US airlines such as American Airlines, United and Southwest have the MAX scheduled to fly from March next year, though nothing will take off before the FAA – itself under scrutiny – gives the green light. It is unclear whether all regulators will fall into line behind the Americans or insist on their own checks after the two high-profile incidents – given the global nature of aviation, Boeing will be hoping it is the former.
Striking a contrite tone from the outset, Deal – who succeeded Kevin McAllister last month – said it was “emotionally and economically” committed to families whose relatives were killed in the Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes. “We have to re-earn that trust each and every day,” he said.
Yet the conference underlined the breadth of Boeing’s business with more than 5,500 orders in backlog and billions of dollars-worth of potential opportunities in services, data solutions, defence and digital analytics. Despite the blaze of publicity on the MAX, the aerospace company is a complex commercial entity.
Challenges extend to its widebody fleet too with the B777X’s entrance being delayed until early 2021, impacting customers such as Emirates, but Deal was confident the “long term” value of the model “remains intact”.
Emirates placed a mega-order for 150 planes at the 2013 airshow and ordered 40 B787-10s at the 2017 show, which will be delivered from 2022.