- Boeing recently said it will consider reducing or suspending production of its 737 Max aircraft if the jetliner remains grounded for much longer.
- The company expects to submit its fix to the Federal Aviation Administration in September and have the jet cleared to fly again by November, but admitted that unforeseen delays are always possible.
- Photos from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, show how the planes have been piling up with Boeing unable to deliver them to customers.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
This aerial photo from March shows several 737 Max planes just about ready for delivery, but grounded following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash, on March 10, killed 157 people.
It was the second fatal crash in five months.
The first was Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia.
That crash, on October 29, 2018, killed 189 people.
Both crashes are believed to have been caused by MCAS, or Boeing’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System.
MCAS is an automated system designed to prevent the plane’s nose from accidentally drifting too far up, causing a stall.
It was designed to compensate for the fact that the 737 Max has larger engines than previous 737 models, which could cause the nose to drift upward under certain conditions.
However, preliminary results from the accident investigations indicate that MCAS activated when it wasn’t supposed to — possibly due to a faulty sensor — pointing the planes’ noses down in a way where the pilots couldn’t regain control.
Boeing’s proposed software fixes and redesigns should build in redundancies and give pilots more control, preventing a similar accident from ever happening again.
Although the 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since the second crash, pending an approved fix, Boeing has continued building orders for customers — it dropped monthly output from 52 jets to 42 in April.
They will be delivered as soon as the grounding ends, and the airlines are ready to receive them.
As the grounding has stretched on, though, longer than Boeing originally estimated, undelivered orders are piling up — and Boeing is running out of room to store them.
As the company has run out of traditional tarmac space at its Boeing Field facility …
… It’s been forced to find space in less traditional area. Like the employee parking lot.
There’s still plenty of space for employees and guests to park, but its current production rate of 42 aircraft per month won’t remain feasible if the grounding extends into 2020.
The company has not clarified what will happen to employees in that scenario, but layoffs and furloughs would be a possibility.
For now, as some of Boeing’s employees park alongside the very planes they’re building, the rest of the company remains focused on fixing the jet’s faults and getting it back into service — safely.
Assuming Boeing submits its fix to the FAA in September and it’s approved quickly, these lots will once again be empty of everything but cars.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.