Boeing will cut production of its troubled 737 MAX airliner this month, underscoring the growing financial risk it faces the longer that its best-selling plane remains grounded after two deadly crashes. The company said on Friday that starting in mid-April, it will cut production of the plane to 42 from 52 planes per month so it can focus its attention on fixing the flight-control software that has been implicated in the crashes.
The move was not a complete surprise. Boeing had already suspended deliveries of the MAX last month after regulators around the world grounded the jet.
Preliminary reports into accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia found that faulty sensor readings erroneously triggered an anti-stall system that pushed the plane’s nose down. Pilots of each plane struggled in vain to regain control over the automated system. In all, 346 people died in the crashes. Boeing faces a growing number of lawsuits filed by families of the victims. The announcement to cut production comes after Boeing acknowledged that a second software issue has emerged that needs fixing on the MAX.
Boeing has delivered fewer than 400 MAX jets but has a backlog of more than 4,600 unfilled orders. The Chicago-based company had hoped to expand MAX production this year to 57 planes a month.