Boeing’s fastest-selling aircraft, the 737 MAX 8 which was ordered by over 100 operators worldwide to carry out short-haul and domestic flights, is most likely to remain grounded until August the earliest, according to estimates on Wednesday, by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“We do not expect something before 10 to 12 weeks in re-entry into service,” Alexandre de Juniac IATA director general told reporters ahead of association’s annual meeting in Seoul. “But it is not in our hands. That is in the hands of regulators.”
According to Reuters sources, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects to approve the jet’s return to service as soon as late June.
US company Boeing decided as a precautionary measure to terminate all 737 MAX 8 flights earlier this year following two deadly accidents – Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and Lion Air flight 610 – on the aircraft in less than six months.
The IATA forecast comes in view of comments by US carriers about not scheduling commercial flights of the planes through to August, while the FAA hasn’t not yet provided a timeline on decisions that could allow the planes to resume service.
Meanwhile, according to preliminary investigation findings into the crashes, the two planes went down after a malfunction in the Maneuver Characteristic Augmentation System (MCAS), a new system Boeing integrated into the 737 MAX 8.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on Wednesday, that the US plane-maker was focused on safely returning the MAX aircraft to service without however giving a timetable.