According to reports Boeing is planning to get the 737 MAX production line restarted in the next weeks.
To do that of course depends on major factors inhibiting production being resolved.
One of those is the original reason for slow down and halt of the production line – awaiting the FAA in providing type approval for the MAX following two fatal air crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX jet – and subsequent safety invoked withdrawal of FAA airworthiness approval.
The second issue now facing Boeing has now overtaken the first – as a major world health epidemic forces the shutdown of countries worldwide; including at the time of writing the United States with day by day growing cases of coronavirus. People are being asked to stay at home and global supply chains have slowed.
In restarting its production, leading U.S. press is reporting that Boeing has asked some suppliers to be ready to ship 737 parts in April – other reports indicate a planned restart in May. It seems that the original intended April restart date has been delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Reuters reported that Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told Reuters on Tuesday 24th March that “It’ll be a very slow, methodical, systematic approach to warming the line-up, and getting crews back in place.”
According to Smith and as reported by Reuters the aim for Boeing is to clear current backlog and not to add to inventory.
When you add to that that the global commercial airline travel demand has currently rapidly declined driven by the global coronavirus pandemic
The Boeing 737 MAX production ceased production in January and accrued a backlog of circa 400 undelivered jets.
Boeing is seeking $60 billion in U.S. government aid to prop up its finances and the embattled American aerospace supply chain.
Boeing’s procurement agents have reportedly sent letters to several suppliers telling them to stop shipments and share information about parts already shipped.
Boeing has a chain of 12,000 suppliers and logistics providers across its commercial, defense, space and global services businesses according to Boeing spokesperson Bernard Choi – Senior Director of International Communications and Media Relations.
Uptake demand for the MAX on ramp up will largely depend on global air travel demand and how quickly airlines demand delivery of outstanding orders.
What this means for BBJ variants of the jet is remained to be seen – according to Boeing reports, the company holds 19 orders for the BBJ MAX: 12 Max 8s, three Max 9s, and four Max 7s. There are three orders remaining on backlog for the original BBJ, based on the 737NG airframe according to last known reports.