Breaking News
More (0) »

Seattle's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and More | Seattle, Washington | KING5.com

Boeing may temporarily shut down 737 MAX production in Renton

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on an earnings call that temporarily shutting down production of the 737 MAX may make more sense than reducing production.

Boeing could temporarily shut down the 737 MAX production line in Renton if delays continue with the jet.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on an earnings call Wednesday that he believed the 737 MAX may be recertified in September but acknowledged that is in the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration and global regulators.

RELATED: Boeing reports nearly $3 billion loss in second quarter

If extended delays continue Muilenburg said the company would consider different options, including changing the 737 production rate and even temporarily shutting down production.

Boeing announced in April it planned to reduce its 737 production rate by 19% to 42 planes per month after deliveries were stalled pending FAA certification of safety software improvements.

Muilenburg said on the call that going below the current production rate would be a tricky exercise and a temporary shutdown may make more sense. However, Muilenburg acknowledged the risk of losing those workers and said Boeing is "working every dimension we can to maintain that workforce." 

Once Boeing begins delivering planes again the production rate will remain at 42 jets per month and the company plans to rebuild to 57 jets per month in 2020. Muilenburg hoped deliveries would begin again early in the fourth quarter.

Boeing is fighting to improve its reputation following two deadly crashes that were only months apart. A total of 346 people died.

The 737 MAX jets have been grounded around the world since March.

Boeing has reported a second quarter loss of nearly $3 billion as it absorbed the financial damage caused by the grounding. The giant aircraft maker said Wednesday that revenue plunged 35% from a year earlier, as it was unable to deliver any new MAX jets.

The Chicago-based company, which builds planes in Washington state and South Carolina, said it lost $2.94 billion in the quarter, compared with a profit of $2.20 billion a year earlier. It reported an adjusted loss of $5.82 per share.

Boeing says it will take a $4.9 billion charge to cover possible compensation to airlines whose MAX jets remain grounded. 

Back in March, there was a sense of uneasiness in Renton following the crashes and grounding of the 737 MAX 8. 

Boeing provides an estimated 12,000 jobs in Renton. It is the city's largest employer with an economy that orbits around the 737.