Boeing believes deliveries of the 737 Max could resume next month ahead of a return to commercial service in January.

The latest update came from the US manufacturer eight months after the new generation aircraft was grounded globally after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia which killed a total of 348 people.

Boeing is targeting certification by the US Federal Aviation Administration of the 737 Max flight control software updates in the current quarter.

The company said “it is possible” that deliveries to airlines could start in December, dependent on the FAA issuing an airworthiness directive rescinding the grounding order.

“In parallel, we are working towards final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the Max returns to commercial service, and which we now expect to begin in January,” Boeing added.

The training evaluation represents the final of five milestones the company must complete with the FAA before the 737 Max can return to service.

The US manufacturer has completed only the first of the five requirements, which is a simulator evaluation and certification of the aircraft’s software systems.

“The FAA and other regulatory authorities will ultimately determine return to service in each relevant jurisdiction,” Boeing added. “This may include a phased approach and timing may vary by jurisdiction.”

The firm said: “Boeing’s priority remains the safe return to service of the Max and supporting our airline customers through this challenging time.

“We are working closely with the FAA and other regulatory authorities as we work towards certification and safe return to commercial service, and we are taking the time to answer all of their questions.

“With the rigorous scrutiny being applied, we are confident the Max will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

European carriers awaiting the green light for the 737 Max to return to service include Ryanair, Norwegian Air and Tui while British Airways has orders in for the aircraft.

US carrier Southwest Airlines said on Friday it had revised a return to service of the 737 Max from February 8 to March 6, 2020 based on “continued uncertainty” around the timing of resumption of flights.

American Airlines expects the aircraft to return to scheduled service on March 5.

“Details regarding policies and procedures for customers who do not wish to fly on the MAX once the aircraft enters scheduled service March 5 will be released in the coming weeks,” the airline said.

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