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FAA Says 737 MAX Recertification Will Extend Into 2020

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New Federal Aviation Administration chairman Steve Dickson said the recertification process for the beleaguered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will extend into 2020, a damaging blow to the manufacturer.

“Like I said there are a number of processes, milestones, that have to be completed,” Dickson said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “If you just do the math, it’s going to extend into 2020.”

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Boeing had issued guidance to its investors that the plane would be re-approved for flight by the close of business in 2019.

Now, depending on how far the process extends into 2020, per Dickson’s words, Boeing could be looking at a full year without the use of the plane. Dickson told CNBC that there are still “10 or 11” milestones still to be completed in the process.

The 737 MAX was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes within four months killed a total of 346 passengers and crew.

“We’re going to follow every step of the process, however long that takes,” Dickson said. “I’ve made it clear that I’m going to support my people and that means they are going to take whatever time it takes to get this process completed and to do it the right way.”

Even after the plane gets re-approval, there is still a long process after that to get the fleet of 737 MAX planes changed to new software – believed to be the issue for the crashes – and to re-train pilots to fly the plane.

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