Boeing says timing of 737 MAX return in hands of regulators

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FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past unpainted Boeing 737 MAX aircraft seen parked in an aerial photo at Renton Municipal Airport near the Boeing Renton facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. July 1, 2019. Picture taken July 1, 2019./REUTERS

Boeing moved on Saturday to ease tensions with regulators over the return to service of its 737 MAX, saying it was up to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and its global counterparts to approve changes to the jet in the wake of two accidents.

The FAA told its staff this week to take whatever time was needed to review the grounded plane after Boeing said it expected the FAA to certify the 737 MAX in mid-December.

“We put some targets out that still line up to December … type certification,” Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters.

“The FAA has said they are not going to put a time frame on it and we are going to track behind them on this,” he told a news conference ahead of the Dubai Airshow.

On Friday, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson indicated the agency would decide in its own time whether to unground the plane that was involved in two fatal crashes in five months, killing 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“This effort is not guided by a calendar or schedule,” Dickson wrote in a memo seen by Reuters.

Dickson is due to attend the Dubai Airshow this week.

Boeing is also talking to Emirates about the future of a tentative order for 40 787 Dreamliners, which is among a number of orders left in the balance since the last Dubai show in 2017.

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