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Southwest pilot union says Boeing may be trying to accelerate 737 MAX return



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Southwest Airlines Co's pilot union vehemently criticized Boeing Co and asked if the manufacturer was trying to speed up time for the 737 MAX to return to service.

FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft were shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, US, March 26, 2019. REUTERS / Mike Blake / File Photo

The best-selling Boeing 737 MAX has been on the ground since March, after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people, and it came under harsh criticism from lawmakers. in the United States.

Jon Weaks, chairing the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), said in a note to pilots on Wednesday, reviewed by Reuters, that "Boeing is increasingly spreading that they may need to shut down their production line due to their depletion. room to store the completed MAX aircraft. There is some concern that this is another tactic to push the (back to service) timeline up. "[19659004] He added that doing so would "force operators to continue making payments on MAX aircraft, and transfer some of the costs, logistics, and responsibilities of storing and restoring MAX to the revenue service in the their operators. ”

Boeing did not immediately comment on Wednesday.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Brandy King said the airline was" confident of the work being done MAX is in service and will continue to wait for further guidance from Boeing and the FAA on the timing and next steps. "

On Monday, Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe told Reuters that" we expect the certified Max, issued by a direct competitor, was not announced in mid-December. "He added that the company expects" training training requirements to be approved in January. "

Boeing noted that" The FAA and other regulatory authorities will finally determine the return to service. "

Two federal officials told Reuters this week that Boeing's rival was aggressive and away from the wilderness, citing barriers to clean up .

Boeing must still complete an audit of its software documentation before it can be scheduled for an aviation certification key flight.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) leader Steve Dickson on Tuesday said the agency did not "delegate" anything to Boeing in its review and did not offer a timeless schedule, saying " it is based solely on our analysis of the proposed Boeing software updates and pilot training. "

On Friday, Southwest and American Airlines extended the Boeing 737 MAX cancellations until early March, just shy of on the one-year anniversary of an Ethiopian Airlines crash that led to a global outing.

Last month, SWAPA sued Boeing, saying it had "intentionally deceived" the plane and its pilot. The grounding has destroyed more than 30,000 Southwest Airlines flights, resulting in more than $ 100 million in lost wages for pilots, the union said.

Report by David Shepardson; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in New York. Editing Gerry Doyle

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