Boeing CEO projects 737 Max will return in Q4

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The Boeing 737 Max is on track to be back in service by the fourth quarter, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said at the Global Business Travel Association annual convention this week. 

The company has "worked through the technical details" and is in the final stage of preparing software updates to the aircraft type, he said, and it plans to submit that for certification with the FAA in September. 

Boeing also is updating training and educational materials for the Max, he said. More than 30 regulators around the world will have to approve the aircraft before it can return to service on a global level.

Both United and American have removed the Max from their schedules through early November, while Air Canada and Southwest both recently extended its removal through this year.

GBTA executive director Scott Solombrino asked Muilenburg about GBTA's recent poll of buyers indicating travelers' fears of flying on Max aircraft. Muilenburg said he is trying to demonstrate the "amount of rigor" going into the regulatory work, including about 500 flight tests conducted with the new software. Muilenburg has flown on some of those flights. 

"The respect and confidence of the flying public is important to us," Muilenburg said. "We know that trust has been damaged over the last few months, and we are working hard to re-earn that trust going forward."

Muilenburg also spoke to many of the upcoming projects on the table, including the new widebody 777X that's expected to enter service late next year. Features include larger windows, increased storage space for carry-on luggage and advanced LED lighting to simulate different times of day, such as sunrise and sunset, he said.

In addition, Boeing is working on technology that will transform air travel over the next decade. As work on cost-effective supersonic aircraft technology continues, Muilenburg expects hypersonic technology -- in which aircraft can travel five or six times the speed of sound, enabling any city pair to be connected in a matter of hours -- to become a reality within 15 years. 

Muilenburg also said low-orbit space travel "will become fairly routine" over the next few decades.
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Source: Business Travel News

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