- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2019

President Trump said Thursday that Boeing is under pressure to find out quickly why two of its new passenger jets crashed within the past five months, leading to the grounding of the planes worldwide.

“They have to figure it out fast,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “I’m not sure that they know. They are under great pressure.”

The FAA on Wednesday ordered the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 series planes after one of the jetliners crashed in Ethiopia last weekend, killing all 157 people aboard. The agency was virtually the last air safety regulator in the world to suspend the planes’ operations.

A similar crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia in October killed 189 people. Investigators there are looking at a software system that forces the plane’s nose downward when a single sensor detects a stall.

The president said he hopes the suspension of the Max fleet of 371 planes will be “for a short period of time.”

“The biggest thing is they have to find out what it is,” the president said. “We had to take a cautionary route. It’s a great company, it’s a truly great company and hopefully they’ll figure it out very quickly. It’s also one of our largest exporters, one of the truly great companies of the world.”

Boeing has said it’s working on a software fix for its 737 Max jets, to be completed by the end of April.

Bank of America predicted Thursday it will take the company three to six months to get the planes operating again.

“Once Boeing identifies the issue on the 737 MAX, the most likely scenario, in our view, is that the company will take about 3-6 months to come up with a fix and certify the fix,” Bank of America analyst Ronald Epstein said in a note, CNBC reported.

Bank of America kept its buy rating and $480 price target on Boeing, saying it believes the investigation will have a “definitive timeline.”

“We would expect Boeing to continue to produce the 737 at the current rate of 52 per month in order to minimize disruption in the supply chain,” Mr. Epstein said.

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