Undeliverable Boeing 737 Max Planes Now Being Stored At Central Washington Airport
Boeing is running out of space to park grounded 737 Max jets in the Puget Sound region and is now sending some of its Renton, Washington, factory output to Moses Lake’s spacious airport.
The Boeing 737 factory continues to crank out Max series jetliners. They can’t be handed over to customers until government regulators approve the revised flight control software. So, undeliverable 737s are stacking up. Spare taxiways and tarmacs at Renton Airport, Boeing Field and Paine Field in Western Washington are crammed with factory-fresh Max jets.
As of this past weekend, newly produced planes were being shuttled to Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. The expansive airport is a legacy from when the Air Force stationed B-52 bombers there at what was then known as Larson Air Force Base. Larson AFB was closed in 1966. Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said other Max planes are being stored temporarily in San Antonio, where Boeing has a large maintenance base.
Richard Mueller, Port of Moses Lake operations director, said the airfield is happy to accommodate the spillover of planes from Puget Sound. He said Boeing parked six 737 Max jets on its company-owned ramp as of Monday afternoon. Mueller said the port authority would lease Boeing additional space if the company’s own property gets “maxed out.”
“The desert is a good place to store airplanes,” Mueller added, in reference to the low humidity.
It remains unclear when the 737 Max will be cleared to fly commercially again. The Max fleet was grounded globally in mid-March in the wake of two fatal accidents connected to faulty sensors and automated flight control software.
Boeing is still allowed to do test flights and both the plane maker and airline customers that already have possession of Max jets can move the aircraft from place to place with a skeleton crew onboard. Aviation bloggers/tweeters estimate that Boeing has more than 125 Max jets in storage at various airports. The first planes to be parked in Moses Lake are painted in the colors of United and Southwest airlines.
Earlier predictions of a return to commercial service by late summer now appear overly optimistic. At the Paris Air Show on Sunday, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg said the company was making progress getting the Max recertified, but there is no specific timetable to return to the skies with passengers.
“We’re going to bring a Max back up in the air that will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly,” Muilenburg told reporters. “But we also know it will take time rebuilding the confidence of our customers and the flying public, and this will be a long-term effort.”
The latest documents Boeing has released related to the design and certification of the 737 Max paint a dark picture of employee reactions to problems that came up during the development of the now-grounded airliners. Continue Reading Boeing Employees Mocked FAA In Internal Messages Before 737 Max Disasters
The crash of a Boeing 737 airliner shortly after takeoff from the Iranian capital hit home in the Pacific Northwest Wednesday. The crash victims include immigrant families just across the U.S. border in British Columbia. Continue Reading At Least 12 British Columbia Residents Among Victims Of Boeing 737 Plane Crash In Iran
Boeing is close to maxing out the storage space it has leased at the Moses Lake, Washington, airport for its grounded 737 Max airliners. The plane maker plans to deploy a fresh wave of mechanics across the mountains to maintain the large fleet until those planes can fly again. Continue Reading Moses Lake Airport Close To Maxing Out On Boeing 737 Storage As Planes Stay Grounded