Boeing restarted production of the 737 Max Wednesday, even though the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to give its approval for the jet to fly again.
Boeing said it now expects that approval in the middle of this year.The news came on the same day that Boeing notified 6,770 workers they were losing their jobs. Another 5,520 workers have taken voluntary buyout offers. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Boeing to greatly reduce its production plans for at least the next several years. Boeing has a realistic motivation now to rezume production. If it kept the line shut it risked the loss of suppliers who might go out of business without being able to sell their parts to Boeing. "Without the supply chain there will be nothing for us to assemble so it's as simple at that," said Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun a month ago.
During the pandemy, airlines and aircraft leasing companies have canceled orders for 299 of the 737 Max. Another 240 of the jets have have had their order status changed and Boeing no longer counts them as firm orders. Boeing still has firm orders for more than 3,800 of the 737 Max.