Air Canada follows WestJet as it removes Boeing 737 Max until June


WestJet, which has 13 Boeing 737 Max jets, said it would be updating its schedule to remove the aircraft from use until June 24.

Boeing has released a statement estimating that the ungrounding of the plane will take place during mid-2020.

Boeing does not expect regulators to allow its beleaguered 737 Max aircrafts to return to service until at least "mid-2020", the company announced Tuesday.

The 737 Max was grounded worldwide in early 2019 after the second of two fatal crashes that appear to have been related to flight control software that was acting up.

Until recently, Boeing had often suggested the fixes were nearly ready to be submitted to regulators and approval was imminent. In a statement, the FAA said Dickson was also concerned with "the perception that some of Boeing's public statements have been created to force FAA into taking quicker action".

It's more of a question of when the aircraft will return to service, rather than if.

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The latest timetable is based on work remaining to be done before the Federal Aviation Administration will allow the Max back in the sky including work on flight-control computers, according to two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that Boeing did not provide.

The FAA has set no timeframe for when its work will be completed.

Reuters reported last week that regulators had been pushing back the time needed to approve the plane.

The trial run is scheduled for Thursday at 1800 GMT, although "flight testing is dynamic, and the date could change due to weather and other factors", Boeing said.

The company cautioned Tuesday against expectations from "forward-looking statements" that target a solid date for returning the 737 MAX to service. "It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process".

While the CEO's call was in progress, the ratings agency Fitch affirmed its A- rating on Boeing's debt, saying that while the 737 Max's return to service is later than its base-case scenario, it "does not trip our downgrade guidelines". Although Boeing couldn't deliver the 737 Max planes to customers, the company continued to build the jets, albeit at a slightly reduced pace of 42 a month.