The big question is what is holding the FAA back.
The FAA sounds more and more pessimistic as time goes by.
It is also worth noting that Boeing fails to create any public or political pressure on the FAA to move faster.
Something smells very fishy. My gut feeling is that the FAA has found confirmation that they have been played by Boeing and that they have evidence that Boeing lied to them.
The FAA is the regulator, they just fined Boeing a couple millions dollars for the slat track issue, so if they have evidence that Boeing lied, holding Boeing to account is not a problem.
If they announce that the 737 MAX will not fly again or that it will be another year, guess who will be on the FAA case, not Boeing but every single politician in DC who is going to have constituents screaming when the thousands of vendors who supply Boeing parts for the MAX in their state start laying off staff and some potentially going out of business.
A question, if the FAA had announced in March 2019 that the MAX would be grounded for 12 months, do you think Boeing would only have reduced production to 42?
The string along theory here is that as long as the time line is moveable, Boeing will continue to pay all the vendors and continue to assemble and store the a/c, getting the stored a/c updated and delivered is now a major challenge in itself, especially since the FAA will now be certifying each frame, and since they do not have the staffing to man all the area's wher e frames are stored, the timeline to get them delivered has gone up.