On the one had you have Boeing and it’s relentless lobbying and PR machine spinning the news the MAX is about to be re-certified, and on the other the FAA making it quietly but perfectly clear that no matter what Boeing says, it’s going to take all the time it wants.
Partly this is about the FAA doing its job, but it’s also political – it’s the FAA making it publicly clear that the old cozy days of Boeing getting preferential treatment and self certifying its end product, are completely over.
The FAA have made it pretty much clear now the MAX isn’t going to be flying again until the end of January. They intend on taking as much time as it they need and Boeing will just have to wait. And so will the airlines.
The FAA’s attitude is very different to the way it behaved after the two crashes – it’s behaviour was so appallingly bad and slow to respond it was even described as racist in Indonesia and Ethiopia. They felt with some justification that if Americans had been on board the first crash would have been enough to get a global grounding.
Boeing told customers less than two weeks ago – irritating the FAA – that it hoped to resume deliveries in December. That clearly isn’t happening now.
There are three sets of tests to carry out in December, including first test flights. All of those if they go well, will be deeply analysed. Experts say that at best the first to second week of January is the soonest it could possibly be completed.
The FAA is taking its time and Boeing is just going to have to wait.