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FAA says the 737MAX could return sooner than Boeing said

Days after Boeing warned airlines that they shouldn’t count on the 737 Max flying again before midyear, the FAA said it might move faster than that.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson spoke Friday with senior officials at Southwest (LUV), United (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL), the three US carriers that own the plane, to reiterate that the regulator hasn’t set a timeframe for completion of certification work on the aircraft, according to a statement from the agency.

“While the FAA continues to follow a thorough, deliberate process, the agency is pleased with Boeing’s progress in recent weeks toward achieving key milestones,” the statement said. “Safety is the top priority, and the FAA continues to work with other safety regulators to ensure that Boeing has addressed all known issues with the aircraft.”

Earlier this month, Boeing told its airline customers that based on its experience with the certification process “we are currently estimating that the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020.”

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