Boeing is slated to begin a series of test flights on Monday that could play a major role in returning its troubled 737 MAX aircraft to the skies, according to reports.
The flights will reportedly help the Federal Aviation Administration determine if Boeing has done enough to fix the plane's safety problems in the 15 months after it landed after two accidents that killed 346 people.
The certification test, which will run for at least three days in Washington state, will focus on crash prevention software that played a key role in both accidents, Reuters reported. The first flight is scheduled to take off Monday after several hours of reporting, according to the news agency.
In a Sunday email to congressional staff, the FAA said test flights could begin after regulators completed a lengthy review of the "system safety assessment" that Boeing presented, Bloomberg News reported. The agency added that it has not yet decided whether the 737 MAX can return to service, a process that reportedly will take months.
In a statement to The Post, Boeing said it continues "working diligently to safely return the 737 MAX to commercial service," but did not confirm when the test flights will be conducted or what they will entail.
"We refer to the FAA and global regulators about the certification process," said Boeing.
The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday morning.
Boeing shares rose 8.1 percent in premarket trading on Monday to $ 183.70 at 7:27 a.m.
The pair of 737 MAX crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia sparked a massive crisis for Boeing, which has also suffered in recent months from reduced demand for air travel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Regulators landed the plane in March 2019, and it has followed a series of investigations, including a reported criminal investigation into various security issues on the 737 MAX assembly line. Boeing ousted CEO Dennis Muilenburg in December amid a backlash from the accidents and handed the reins over to President David Calhoun.
Boeing delivered just 50 planes in the first quarter of this year, up from 149 the year before. The Chicago-based company's stock price ended 55 percent lower last week than the day the feds grounded the 737 MAX.