US aerospace giant Boeing announced on May 27, at Renton in the US state of Washington, that it was restarting production of its troubled 737 MAX single-aisle airliner. This restart would initially be at a low rate, with only one of the three production lines at the Renton facility being used.
The production of the airliner had been temporarily suspended in January. The company reported that it was implementing more than 12 procedures to increase both safety in the plant and the quality of the product.
“We’ve been on a continuous journey to evolve our production system and make it even stronger,” stated 737 VP and GM Walt Odisho. “These initiatives are the next step in creating the optimal build environment for the 737 MAX.”
During the production pause, Boeing engineers and mechanics have been busy working together to streamline and standardise the various work packages at each position on the aircraft assembly line. New “kitting processes” have been introduced, meaning that the workers would have, at hand, all that they need to assemble the 737 MAX.
“The steps that we’ve taken in the factory will help drive our goal of 100 percent quality for our customers while supporting our ongoing commitment to workplace safety,” assured 737 Manufacturing VP Scott Stocker. Boeing currently plans to restart the second 737 MAX assembly line next year, and thereafter slowly ramp production up to 31 of the airliners each month during 2021.
The 737 MAX remains grounded, worldwide, following two fatal accidents in late 2018 and early 2019. These crashes killed a total of 346 people.