Two Boeing 737 Max jetliners were involved in fatal crashes within a five-month period — yet the company has still been cranking out something like 40 of them each month. Now, Boeing has decided to suspend its production of the 737 Max beginning in January, sources familiar with the company told the Wall Street Journal.
Bad for suppliers — Yes, it’s a good thing that Boeing is halting production of a plane linked to 346 deaths. But the cost of the dead jetsetter will have a ripple effect, especially for the companies that supply parts for its production.
Right now, Boeing suppliers have had plenty of steady work as the company attempts to work through its backlog of over 4,545 Max jets. Now that production is being halted, suppliers will lose profits in the process. General Electric, which makes the 737 Max's engine, says it expects the jet’s demise to cost the company upwards of $1.4 billion from its cash flow.
Airlines are seeing the cost of the jet’s grounding, too: last week, Southwest and Boeing reached an $830 million agreement to compensate for lost funds.
Maybe it isn’t meant to fly — Aircraft regulators estimate that the 737 Max won’t be cleared to fly commercially until at least February. Southwest and United plan to fly it in March, and American Airlines has removed the jet from its schedule until early April. But why is it flying again at all? The answer is obviously money — Boeing has poured incredible sums into this jet — but is it worth the risk of more people being killed? And besides, who is going to willingly hop on a plane with such a monstrously high fatality rate?