The Boeing 737 Max jets' return to service could be delayed after the Federal Aviation Administration discovered another problem with its computer system that can cause the jet to enter a deep dive. Boeing stock fell Thursday, testing key support levels.
The Dow Jones stock fell further in late trading on a report that pilots have complained of software problems other non-MAX Boeing jets.
During simulations, the FAA found that a Boeing (BA) flight computer's data processing could cause the Boeing 737 Max to dive, making it difficult for pilots to recover, sources told Bloomberg. The issue was first reported by Reuters.
The issue is unrelated to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System which officials believe is to blame for the Ethiopian Air crash as well as an October Lion Air crash. Combined, the two crashes killed 346 people and led to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max fleet in March
The new problem could further delay the Boeing 737 Max's return to service, perhaps three months. At the Aspen Ideas Festival Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the jet could return to the skies by the end of summer.
Southwest Airlines (LUV) on Thursday cancelled Boeing 737 Max flights through Oct. 1. United Airlines (UAL) recent extended 737 Max flight cancellations through Sept. 3.
Boeing hasn't submitted its final fix for the MCAS system to the FAA for approval. The earliest the test flight could be conducted is now July 8. It's unclear how long the newly discovered problem will delay the process. Some speculated it could add three months to the delay.
Boeing stock sank 2.9% to 363.95 on the stock market today, off session lows. Shares found support at their 50-day line but closed just below the 200-day average. Boeing stock cleared those support levels last week from the Paris Air Show. Boeing stock has been in the early stages of building the right side of a consolidation with a buy point of 446.11.
European peer Airbus' (EADSY) U.S.-listed shares dipped 0.8%.
After the close, Bloomberg reported pilots flying Boeing's NG models have registered complaints about software glitches via a NASA-run database,. In recent years pilots have cited losing air speed on takeoff and the plane's nose pitching lower.
In May, the FAA reportedly expanded its safety review to include order 737 models.
Boeing shares edged higher early Friday after initially sinking more than 1% late Thursday.
Grounded Jets Stack Up
Boeing is still building the 737 Max at its Seattle area facility to keep the supply chain humming, and the jets are stacking up, spilling out into the employee parking lot.
Southwest's pilots union wants compensation from Boeing to cover legal costs and lost earnings for pilots.
As carriers grow frustrated with losing money on the grounding during the peak summer season, Boeing got a huge vote of confidence from International Airlines Group, parent of Aer Lingus, British Airways, and Iberia, at the Paris Air Show earlier this month. The group announced a massive 200-plane letter of intent for Boeing 737 Max-8 and Max-10 jets.
No Boeing 737 Max Rebrand
Boeing said at the Paris Air Show that it would consider dropping the Max from the plane's name as it conducts a global study of consumers and airlines following the two fatal crashes.
But Muilenburg squashed that idea Wednesday, saying "I don't see a need to change the name of the airplane. We're not focused on branding and marketing. We're focused on safety."
More Americans following the Boeing 737 Max news are willing to travel on the plane but view Boeing more negatively, according to an IBD/TIPP poll, conducted May 30 through June 7 vs. the prior IBD/TIPP poll.
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