New York (AFP)

The aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced Monday that it was now expecting a resumption of commercial flights of 737 MAX, grounded since mid-March after two close accidents with 346 deaths, early next year and not in December as planned until now.

According to a statement, the group still hopes to receive the green light from the US Aviation Regulatory Agency, the FAA, for use of the aircraft in December and hopes to resume delivery of aircraft to its customers before the end of the year.

But it provides that the update of the training for the 737 MAX, which must precede the resumption of commercial flights, be validated in January.

US airlines Southwest and American Airlines had announced Friday that they postponed until March the date of a possible return to service of their own Boeing 737 MAX.

Boeing said Monday that it had finalized last week the first of five key steps before the resumption of commercial flights, namely the simulator evaluation by the FAA of the operation of the modified version of its software system.

The manufacturer must now conduct a session with airline pilots to assess human factors and crew workload under various conditions before FAA pilots test the final version of the modified system in flight. Boeing notably changed the MCAS anti-stall system involved in the 737 MAX accidents.

Boeing will then submit to the regulatory agency all the material necessary for the final certification.

The last step before the resumption of commercial flights will be, according to Boeing, an evaluation by a committee composed of several regulatory agencies to validate the update of the training.

After this session, the committee "will publish a report subject to a period of public consultation, followed by the final approval of the training," says the manufacturer.

"At every stage of this process, Boeing is working closely with the FAA and other regulators," the group said, noting that clearances for commercial flight recovery may not be available at the same time.

The 737 MAX crisis is one of the most serious in Boeing's 103-year history. It has already cost him tens of billions of dollars, triggered multiple investigations by US authorities and a cascade of complaints from families of victims.

If Boeing now relies on a recovery of commercial flights in early 2020, uncertainty still hangs.

Pilot training remains a contentious point: Europe and Canada require training on flight simulators while Americans would be content with training on a computer, much faster.

The Boeing share jumped after the release of this new calendar, the title rising around 18:20 GMT 4.6% on the New York Stock Exchange.

© 2019 AFP