FAA enters ‘final stages’ of Boeing 737 Max review

The Boeing 737 Max could make a return to the air soon as the Federal Aviation Administration says it has entered the ‘final stages’ of reviewing proposed changes to the aircraft.

“We expect that this process will be finished in the coming days, once the agency is satisfied that Boeing has addressed the safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “The FAA continues to engage with aviation authorities around the world as they prepare to validate our certification decision.”

While Dickson declined to give a specific date for a potential approval, Reuters reported the agency could approve the plane’s ungrounding as early as Nov. 18. Dickson said the agency will “take the time that it needs” before approving the troubled airliner’s return.

“Even though we are near the finish line, I will lift the grounding order only after our safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards,” Dickson added.

A Boeing spokesperson said that it continues to work with the FAA and global regulators to safely return the 737 MAX to service.

Earlier in the day, Boeing received some good news. Bloomberg reported that Southwest Airlines is in “advanced talks” with the Seattle-based planemaker to acquire more than two dozen 737 Max jets that lost their original buyers. In July, the Seattle Times reported that Boeing lost just over 800 orders for the jet in the first half of 2020.

Boeing stock is up more than 2 percent in after-hours trading Monday as of the time of publication. Shares closed earlier in the day at $179.36 per share, up more than 13 percent.