The FAA is poised to approve a software update to the Boeing 737 Max, putting the troubled plane closer to getting its worldwide grounding lifted. Boeing (BA) stock rose Tuesday.
A draft report from an FAA review board calls an update to the automated flight-control system "operationally suitable." The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) system is suspected in the fatal Ethiopian Air and Lion Air crashes.
The report from the FAA's Flight Standardization Board also recommended more training on the MCAS but doesn't require additional simulator time for pilots.
American Airlines (AAL) pilots reportedly will get more simulator training on the Boeing 737 Max, in an apparent reversal, departing from the FAA as well as fellow Max customers United Airlines (UAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV).
American Airlines is voluntarily training Boeing 737 Max pilots with simulator scenarios involving the MCAS, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But the FAA isn't requiring such simulator training on the Boeing plane and United and Southwest don't plan to make similar moves, the Journal added.
Boeing stock closed up 1.7% at 381.72 on the stock market today. Rival Airbus (EADSY) added 0.5%. The iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA) rose 0.8%, and the SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (XAR) gained 0.5%.
American Air Splits With FAA
Uncertainty over how long the Boeing 737 Max will be grounded has forced airlines to extend flight cancellations deeper into the summer travel season.
United joined American and Southwest Monday in extending flight cancellations of the Boeing 737 Max. The carrier said it will cancel Boeing 737 Max flights through early July after previously canceling them through early June.
"We've used spare aircraft and other creative solutions to help our customers, who had been scheduled to travel on one of our 14 MAX aircraft, get where they are going," United said. "But, it's harder to make those changes at the peak of the busy summer travel season."
American announced Sunday that it would extend cancellations for the 737 Max aircraft through Aug. 19 from a prior date of June 5. The cancellations will account for 115 flights, or 1.5% of American's scheduled flights this summer. On Thursday, Southwest said it is removing the Boeing 737 Max from its flight schedule through Aug. 5.
Despite the expanding cancellations, the 737 Max is still a small share of the airlines' fleets. The plane accounts for 34 of Southwest's fleet of over 750 737 models. American has 24 Boeing 737 Max planes, and United has 14.
Trump's Advice On Boeing 737 Max
Earlier Monday, President Trump, who has seen numerous properties drop his name since his election, gave Boeing some unsolicited advice to Boeing about its beleaguered plane.
The Trump Toronto, Trump SoHo, Trump Panama and the Trump Place condo in Manhattan have decided to remove Trump's name since 2017.
But Trump tweeted his thoughts on how Boeing should handle its 737 Max crisis.
Boeing has seen a loss of confidence among the public since the Ethiopian Air crash last month.
Of those who are following the Boeing 737 Max news, 51% said they would avoid flying on the plane once it has re-entered service, according to an IBD/TIPP poll.
It also found that 42% of respondents who have been following the 737 Max news have a less favorable view of Boeing. Similarly, among investors tracking the news, 44% have a lower opinion of the company.
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