US aerospace manufacturer Boeing has restarted production of its 737 MAX at its Renton facility in Washington after halting construction in January following two fatal crashes involving the jet in the previous 14 months.
After the type was grounded in March 2019 in the wake of the second crash, the manufacturer continued to produce around 42 per month for the remainder of the year, causing a large backlog of undelivered airframes. In January 2020 after repeated declines in production, Boeing stopped manufacturing the type completely.
Starting initially with a “low rate” of assembly, the airframer said it has implemented more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality.
Walt Odisho, vice president and general manager of the 737 programme said: “We’ve been on a continuous journey to evolve our production system and make it even stronger. These initiatives are the next step in creating the optimal build environment for the 737 MAX.”
Production will initially be limited to one of the three commercial lines available at Boeing’s Renton site. The company said a second line would be reactivated next year as the programme slowly ramps up construction, eventually reaching the rate of 31 aircraft per month in 2021.
This production rate is a far cry from the 57 per month the firm planned to be building by 2020.