US aircraft manufacturer, Boeing finally decided to suspend production of the B737 MAX aircraft line, the type of aircraft used by Lion Air JT610, which had an accident in October 2018. Termination of production will begin in January 2020.
The move was taken following the B737 MAX recertification process which cannot be carried out this year, and must be postponed until 2020. Recertification is needed by the B737 MAX following improvements in the MCAS feature, which is the culprit of two B737 MAX accidents in six months, namely Lion Air JT610 in October 2018, and Ethiopian ET302 in March 2019.
After the accident, the American aviation authority, the FAA issued a flying ban for the entire B737 MAX. But Boeing still manufactures the aircraft.
Until now, Boeing said there were around 400 aircraft units that had finished being produced, but could not be sent to consumers due to the flight ban. Originally, Boeing hoped that the certification process would be completed by the end of 2019, but until this December, the certification process had not yet ended so that Boeing was forced to temporarily stop production of the B737 MAX.
“From the evaluation, we decided to prioritize the delivery of the stored aircraft, and temporarily suspend production of the 737 MAX program, starting next month (January 2020),” Boeing said on its official website.
In addition to the certification factor that never ended, the suspension of aircraft production was also caused by uncertainty when the aircraft could fly commercially, as well as approval of new training programs for the B737 MAX worldwide.
Boeing employees affected by this production shutdown, especially those working on the B737 MAX project, will be temporarily assigned to another team or another factory. “We will always look after our customers, employees and our supply chain while continuing to assess the right actions,” Boeing was quoted.