Boeing faces further turbulence

Boeing 737MAX

Boeing’s shares jumped by 5%, their best one-day performance in over five months, early this week after the company announced that it expects the “troubled” 737 Max jet to return to service as early as January, says Peter Wells in the Financial Times. They could even resume deliveries of the jet to customers in December. The jet has been grounded since March owing to its role in two fatal air crashes, one in October 2018 and another in March 2019, with a combined number of 346 fatalities. Even after the latest news, Boeing shares are still down 16% from their pre-crash peak.

Not so fast, says Bloomberg’s Brooke Sutherland. Boeing “feels confident” there won’t be “further snags” in the quest for regulatory approval. However, getting the plane back in the sky “certainly isn’t the end of this story”. One problem is that airlines are signalling that they “aren’t happy” with the $5.6bn in compensation that Boeing has offered so far.

Merely getting the planes back into service may not be enough to save the job of Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg, says Martin Rivers in The Guardian. His “apparent ignorance” of the 737 Max’s design flaws, has been undermined by a “steady trickle” of leaked documents and the testimony of whistleblowers, and suggests that he was “blinded by a desire to stay competitive with Airbus, Boeing’s European rival”. He insists he won’t resign, but Boeing’s shareholders know that the company’s future depends on the public’s confidence in “reliable, airworthy” planes.