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Boeing Pushes Back 737 Max Return Again

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The return of Boeing’s 737 Max has been delayed again. On Tuesday, the company said that it did not expect regulators to approve the jet to fly again until June or July. That new timeline would most likely force American Airlines, United and Southwest to push back commercial flights on the Max, which all three had taken off their schedules until June.

Boeing shares dropped sharply after CNBC first reported the news on Tuesday afternoon before trading was halted.

The Max was involved in two accidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, that killed 346 people. It has been grounded worldwide since last March.

Boeing has encountered repeated setbacks in its efforts to return the plane to service, as the company and regulators continue to find potential flaws with the Max that go beyond an automated software system known as MCAS, which contributed to both accidents. Late last year, the company discovered a potential problem with wire bundles on the plane, which were placed so close together that an electrical short could cause a catastrophic accident.

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In assessing the issue, the company discovered about a dozen places in the Max where wire bundles may need to be separated, including in the electrical bay under the cockpit, according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

“Returning the Max safely to service is our No. 1 priority, and we are confident that will happen,” the company said in a statement. “We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 Max has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers and the flying public.”



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