SEATTLE --- Boeing Co plans to restart 737 MAX production by May, ending a months-long halt triggered by a safety ban on its best-selling jet after fatal crashes, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Boeing’s planning hinges on the scale of disruptions from the fast spreading coronavirus, and U.S. regulators clearing the 737 MAX to return to service, a milestone Boeing still expects to reach in mid-2020.
One industry source said Boeing has asked some suppliers to be ready to ship 737 parts in April. Another person said production was planned to restart in May. A third person said coronavirus is throwing a wrench in Boeing’s plans - they had initially hoped for April, but that fell to May.
“It’ll be a very slow, methodical, systematic approach to warming the line-up, and getting crews back in place,” Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about the May restart goal.
“Priority number 1 is getting customers’ fleets back up,” Smith said, adding that a production ramp up will be paired with clearing the MAX backlog. “We don’t want to add to inventory.” (end of excerpt)
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