Boeing says it's about to start building the 737 Max plane again in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, even though it already has more planes than it can deliver

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Boeing says it's about to start building the 737 Max plane again in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, even though it already has more planes than it can deliver
A Boeing 737 MAX airplane is seen parked at a Boeing facility on August 13, 2019 in Renton, Washington.David Ryder/Getty Images
  • Boeing seeks to resume production of the 737 Max this month, CEO Dave Calhoun said on Friday.
  • The plane has been grounded worldwide since March 2019, and production has been suspended since January, 2020.
  • Boeing has about 450 completed planes in storage, which it has not been able to deliver to customers due to the grounding.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Boeing plans to resume assembly of the 737 Max, CEO Dave Calhoun said on Friday, five months after suspending manufacturing of the troubled jet.

In an interview with Fox Business News, Calhoun said that the company was aiming to reactivate the dormant assembly lines this month.

"I am confident we will start our line this month on the MAX again," he said.

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737 Max production at Boeing's facility in Renton, Washington, near Seattle, has been suspended since January. Boeing has continued manufacturing the plane throughout its yearlong grounding, but has been unable to deliver them to customers while the plane was not allowed to be flown.

Boeing has about 450 completed but undelivered planes in storage. When it announced January's assembly suspension, it said that it was running out of space to store them.

Since the initial suspension, Boeing has seen the commercial aerospace landscape shift dramatically. Air travel demand is down as much as 97% for commercial airlines. Airlines have grounded large portions of their fleets and are expected to cancel orders for new aircraft or defer delivery.

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The company did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment on where newly completed planes will be stored.

Last week, Boeing announced that it would significantly pare back its aircraft production. Assembly of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner will be cut from 14 to 10 per month in 2020, and seven by 2022. Production of the 777 family of aircraft will be cut from five per month to three by 2021.

The 737 Max, which was produced at a rate of 42 per month from April 2019 through January, will be ramped up at a slower rate when production resumes, the company said, gradually increasing to 31 per month during 2021.

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During its first quarter earnings report in April, the company said it planned to reduce its workforce by 10% in response to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, including 15% in its commercial aircraft division.

Boeing temporarily suspended production at its other commercial aircraft facilities in Washington state and South Carolina due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those plants have since reopened.

Do you work for Boeing or an airline affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Reach out to this reporter at dslotnick@businessinsider.com.

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