Boeing recently halted deliveries of its ill-fated 737 MAX after an electrical issue grounded hundreds of the planes globally earlier in April, according to an initial report from Reuters.
The company also shared concerns surrounding the surge in COVID-19 coronavirus rates in India while tensions between China and the U.S. mount.
Boeing's 737 MAX delays affect 109 jetliners globally
This comes on the heels of Boeing's resuming of deliveries of its best-selling jet aircraft later in 2020 after regulators had approved several repair options following worrisome crashes. A conclusive solution for the planes has evaded grasp for longer than officials expected — and it isn't exactly great news for Boeing to have to pause deliveries as so many people prepare for long-overdue summer retreats after the dark days of 2020 under the oppression of the global pandemic — and the necessary precautionary measures taken by nearly every nation on Earth.
CEO Boeing Dave Calhoun said he expected to conclude repair instructions "in relatively short order," but didn't offer an estimation on an ETA. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) — which will need to approve the solutions to the electrical issues — said it's "continuing to work closely with Boeing on this issue," according to a CNBC report.
Calhoun added that the electrical issues call for a few days' repair time for each airplane, will cause significant delays in deliveries, and will substantially reduce the volume expected for April deliveries. "At this time, we expect to catch up on deliveries over the balance of the year," he said.
The FAA also said the issue affects 109 airline planes globally, and Boeing didn't specify how many planes need repairing. This seemingly never-ending series of technical and financial hiccups has dashed hopes for a resurgent entry into the U.S. travel market from vaccinations. "We view 2021 as a critical inflection point for our industry," said Calhoun to analysts in a conference call, according to the Reuters report. Nevertheless, Boeing hopes to "catch up on deliveries over the balance of the year."
Boeing's delivery delays have a silver lining
As of writing, Boeing has delivered more than 85 737 MAX jetliners since it was initially cleared by the majority of regulators to re-enter service late in 2020 after two fatal crashes. The company still expects to have half of its 400 MAX jets in inventory for delivery by the end of this year, and hopes to return to a positive (profit) cash flow sometime next year.
Boeing has had a long road of tragic crashes, repairs, approval for flight, and it hasn't been easy for anyone. In 2019, Indonesia's aviation safety agency reported that Boeing's MCAS flight control system and a faulty sensor were partly to blame for a horrific crash the previous year. In Oct. 2018, 189 passengers and crew perished aboard Lion Air's Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight. Five months later, a second Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner crashed while piloted by Ethiopian Airlines — taking another 157 lives. And here is where the latest electrical issues have a silver lining: it was caught before anyone else had to lose their lives. In this light, while unprofitable and disappointing to people anxious to start their summer vacation — it's better for everyone to take it slow, rather than rush and risk well-being.