Do you genuinely believe, hand on Bible, heart and daughter, that the CEO of Boeing and its board had even the smallest, insignificant belief that return to service would be in 2019 as late as November or December?
Because even laymen without any industry insight were able to calculate the very simple fact that this hasn't been on the cards since arguably, the spring. It was inconceivable as early as September.
I don't know what point you're making, but I think US-only RTS by end of year was feasible as late as September. Neither of us know what the CEO or BoD knew. I'm sure there was room for doubt, and they did say their RTS time line was an estimate. I don't think your statement about it being inconceivable holds water. If that was so, I believe the messaging would have been different, especially with regard to the Q3 earnings call.
The point I was making is that if Boeing and its BoD know of another major flaw blocking RTS and haven't mentioned it, then they could find themselves subject of yet another investigation, this time by the SEC. For instance https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-12-16 ... Production
describes the shutdown purely in terms of managing its resources and supporting the FAA's RTS process. If they know of some other material reason such as those being speculated about here i.e. aerodynamic conditions that make a software solution unfeasible they are IMO obligated to communicate it since it's such a material impact on the company.
It's a pretty simple conclusion to reach, however I do give them bonus points for their vivid writing:
Since March Boeing’s response has been an ugly mixture of remorse, evasion and swagger, as it has gambled that it can get the MAX, and its business, rapidly back in the air. On December 16th that strategy ran out of runway when the firm announced it would suspend production of the stricken plane.
I think the highlighted bit describes DM's testimony to Congress quite well, which must be leaving the BoD wondering if they can't find some one who can't do a better job than that.