Boeing 737 Max may not return to service until August

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Crewman tow in a Boeing Co. Max 737 jet after landing at King County International Airport in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Boeing Co.’s newest 737 jetliner gunned its engines and headed into rain-streaked skies Friday, with profit and pride riding on its wings. Photographer: Mike Kane/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mike Kane | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The grounded Boeing 737 Max fleet isn’t expected to return to the skies for at least another 10 weeks, according to the airline industry’s main trade body.

Boeing is under huge pressure to satisfy regulators and airlines that the 737 Max plane is safe after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, which killed all 157 people on board.

Investigators have said there are “clear similarities” between that flight and another Max crash in Indonesia in October that killed all 189 on board.

Alexandre de Juniac, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said at an event in South Korea Wednesday that the 737 Max wouldn’t fly until August at the earliest, according to several media reports.

“We do not expect something before 10 to 12 weeks in re-entry into service,” he said, before adding: “But it is not our hands. That is in the hands of regulators.”

IATA is planning a summit before August involving Boeing, regulators and airlines to discuss what must happen to get the plane back into service.

Crash investigators are working on a theory that the jet’s flight control system, which automatically pushes the plane’s nose down to prevent a stall, was responsible for the fatalities in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

On May 16, Boeing said it had completed a software update for its 737 Max planes and was working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to get the plane back in the air.

For its part, the FAA has so far refused to commit to any date for the Max jet to return to service.

U.S. carriers Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines have all removed the Max from their summer flight schedules.

Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg is set to speak at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York City on Wednesday.

NOW WATCH: What could Dennis Muilenburg say today?

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