Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

And still no sign of safe software or approval to fly

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Boeing has resumed production of the 737 Max, its passenger plane with software so flawed that its certification was yanked after being found to have caused two fatal accidents.

A brief statement from the firm said “more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality” are now in place at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington.

The announcement also mentioned improvements to production systems and all sorts of new arrangements that make the plane easy and safe to build.

But there was no mention of software other than the quick reference to “quality”. Nor was there any indication that the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration will re-certify the plane, after grounding it in 2019 following the crashes.

Airlines are currently bleeding as a certain virus severely reduces demand for air travel, so if the Max is allowed to fly again its lower operating costs may be welcome.

But the pandemic means Boeing’s building them slowly.

At least those on the 737 Max line have work, as Boeing also announced 6,770 layoffs in the USA and plans for more around the world.

“I wish there were some other way,” said Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun, adding that “Some of our customers are reporting that reservations are outpacing cancellations on their flights for the first time since the pandemic started.”

“Our industry will come back, but it will take some years to return to what it was just two months ago.” ®

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