SAN FRANCISCO, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Top U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Company reaffirmed Monday that the timing for restoring grounded 737 MAX aircraft back to commercial operations will be decided by federal regulators.
"We have said all along that the regulatory authorities determine the process for certifying the MAX software and training updates and the timing for lifting the grounding order," Boeing told Xinhua in response to earlier media reports that the globally grounded 737 MAX airplanes will not be likely to restart carrying passengers until 2020.
Boeing declined to say when the grounding order for 737 MAX jets will be removed. "We will not comment on media speculation on that schedule," it said.
Boeing again expressed deep regret over the impact of the 737 MAX grounding on its customers and their passengers.
"Boeing is working very closely with the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) on the process they have laid out to certify the 737 MAX software update and safely return the MAX to service," it said.
"The disciplined development and testing work underway are based on a rigorous analysis by our technical experts" upon the requirements of the FAA, Boeing asserted.
The U.S. aircraft maker promised to submit the final software package to the FAA once it has satisfied all of the certification requirements.
"We are continuing to work with the FAA and other regulators to complete as many elements of the certification process as possible in parallel with the development of the software update," Boeing said.
An earlier report by The Wall Street Journal said the global 737 MAX fleet is anticipated to return to the air in January 2020, a full 12 months after Boeing proposed its initial replacement of a flight control software that was partially blamed for two fatal crashes in Indonesia last October and Ethiopia in March this year.
The 737 MAX has been grounded across the world since March 2019 after two of its models crashed in two separate disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia, with a total of 346 people killed.
On Sunday, American Airlines said it has extended its ban on Boeing 737 MAX flights through Nov. 2, right after United Airlines announced its decision to keep 737 MAX flights out of schedule until Nov. 3.