March 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Barring further issues, the FAA Type Inspection Authorization for the MAX is targeted for the second half of May, LNA learned.
This is a critical step in recertifying the airplane.
Also barring more unexpected events in a year filled with them, Boeing should resume production of the 737 MAX in May, LNA confirmed.
The TIA “is used to authorize official conformity, airworthiness inspections, and flight tests necessary to fulfill certain requirements for Type Certificate (TC), Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), amended TC, and amended STC certification,” an FAA description indicates.
This depends on the certification flight. The coronavirus crisis may upend all schedules.
Barring any upheavals, certification is now targeted for late June or early July. This timeline fits with Boeing’s plan to resume production in May, about two months ahead of certification. Parties hope for concurrent certification between the FAA, Europe’s EASA and Transport Canada.
The supply chain should begin shipping materials to Boeing in April, including new fuselages from Spirit AeroSystems.
Restarting the MAX line will be at what’s called Initial Low Rate Production.
In February, LNA revealed the planned start up and ramp up, based on an April restart date. Events, including the virus, delayed this timeline. It’s believed this remains essentially the plan.
Deliveries of the 400+ stored airplanes were expected to begin shortly after certification was received. But the virus crisis essentially shut down the world’s air transportation system as borders were closed by governments and passenger traffic within countries all but dried up. Remaining passenger flights were lucky to have 10%-20% load factors.
This throws into question delivery opportunities for Airbus, Boeing and Embraer. LNA previously examined these uncertainties.
It’s been assumed that Boeing will be particularly hurt by the virus, given the stored airplanes. It’s widely known that most MAX customers may cancel contracts after 12 months of a delivery delay.
To be sure, this is an issue facing Boeing that does not face Airbus or Embraer.
But an analysis by LNA shows that about half the stored airplanes have yet to cross the 12 month threshold and none of the airplanes sold for 2020 deliveries will meet this test. Boeing legally could tender about 200 stored airplanes, and all new-production models (including wide-bodies) to customers, who by contract are obligated to accept them.
Physically, Boeing won’t be able to tender all 200 of the stored airplanes and stay within the 12 month timeline. It’s been widely publicized, by Wall Street analysts and others, that delivery of the stored airplanes at best will probably be a maximum of 25/mo after an initial lower rate.
Boeing must bring the airplanes out of storage and ensure airworthiness. It’s also dealing with Foreign Object Debris (FOD) left in fuel tanks and other areas that must be removed after inspection. LNA is told about 70% of the airplanes inspected so far have FOD.
While Boeing will be entitled to tender airplanes to customers, whether they will take them is another matter.
After 9/11, Southwest Airlines accepted deliveries but the planes went straight into desert storage. But then, airlines still were able to generate revenue and carry passengers. Now, there is virtually no revenue and very few passengers.
What will this look like by July, assuming the MAX is recertified?
There is no answer.