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Boeing will freeze 737 Max production as FAA review carries on

It's stopping work on the flawed airliner in January.
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AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

As you've probably noticed, Boeing's flawed 737 Max still hasn't received the regulatory all-clear as 2019 draws to a close -- and that's now affecting manufacturing. Boeing said it will suspend 737 Max production in January now that the FAA expects its safety evaluation to continue in 2020. It's uncertain how long the freeze will last, but that's likely to hinge on when (and if) the aircraft is allowed to fly again. While airlines have ruled out using the 737 Max until March or later, there's no guarantee they'll be allowed to fly by then.

Boeing has about 400 completed aircraft sitting in storage, and said that focusing on delivering those aircraft would be "least disruptive" to its long-term plans. Staff will either continue working on the 737 or receive temporary assignments with other teams.

There's little doubt this production stop will hurt Boeing's bottom line. As the company acknowledged, though, safety takes priority here. The software mistakes that led to the 737 Max's two crashes cost hundreds of lives -- the solution has to be completely trustworthy for regulators, airlines and the public. Whatever financial hit Boeing takes is a small price to pay if it prevents another tragedy.

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