SEATTLE — The Boeing Company plans to restart production of the 737 MAX jet by May, Reuters reported Tuesday.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the company has asked some suppliers to prepare to ship 737 MAX parts in April. Another source said the company hoped to restart production by April but that was pushed to May due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Reuters.
“It’ll be a very slow, methodical, systematic approach to warming the line up, and getting crews back in place,” Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about the May restart goal.
Boeing temporarily suspended the production of the 737 MAX in January.
Approximately 800 737 MAX jets have been grounded for over a year after two deadly crashes killed 346 people. The 737 MAX won’t return to service until the jet is cleared by U.S. regulators.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun said in January that 737 MAX production would resume in the spring, months before the company expects federal regulators to certify the grounded jet to fly again. No specific start date was given.
On Monday, Boeing announced that it would temporarily suspend production operations in its Puget Sound area facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. Production was reduced Monday, and a 14-day operations shutdown began Wednesday.
"These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families, and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers," a statement from the company reads.
At least 24 Boeing workers in the Puget Sound area have tested positive for COVID-19. Of the local cases, there are at least 17 confirmed in Everett, five in Renton, one in Auburn, and one at the local headquarters in Longacres.
An Everett Boeing worker died to the coronavirus, the employee’s family told KING 5. Elton Washington worked at Boeing in Everett for 27 years.