A potential engine problem has forced Boeing to temporarily suspend all test flights for the new 737 MAX, though the plane manufacturer has indicated that this will not affect current production levels. It is anticipated that deliveries of the plane will still commence this month.
Despite Boeing having encountered no problems during over 2,000 hours of testing, the plane manufacturer was advised last week by the engine suppliers CFM (a joint-venture between General Electric and France-based Safran) that there is a potential issue with turbine engine discs. Boeing responded by saying that: “Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to temporarily suspend MAX flights. The step is consistent with our priority focus on safety for all who use and fly our products.”
This test flight stoppage has come just weeks before Boeing was due to deliver the first 737 MAX. It has been identified that Southwest Airlines is the launch customer, though with the airline not anticipated to begin operating the 737 MAX until October, Malaysian carrier Malindo air will be the launch operator. Milando plans to begin scheduled services between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore during the second quarter of the year. The carrier will be taking delivery of four of the new 737 MAXs in 2017.
Norwegian is also due to take delivery of the 737 MAX this May, aiming to commence transatlantic flight with the jet from late June onwards. Orders have also been placed for the aircraft from American Airlines and China’s Shandong Airline, while India’s Spicejet airline placed an order for 205 new planes from Boeing earlier this year, with a book price of around US$22 billion.
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