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Highlights: Reactions to the U.S. approving the Boeing 737 MAX to fly again

(Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday decided to allow Boeing Co’s troubled 737 MAX plane to resume U.S. deliveries and commercial flights by the end of the year, lifting a March 2019 ban following two deadly crashes.

FILE PHOTO: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson brings a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to a stop after an evaluation flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. September 30, 2020. Mike Siegel/Pool via REUTERS.

Approvals from other global aviation safety regulators are expected shortly after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s decision.

Here is what industry experts, customers and rivals are saying about the move:

AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION (ALPA)

“Based on the Airworthiness Directive, ALPA believes that the engineering fixes to the flight-critical aircraft systems are sound and will be an effective component that leads to the safe return to service of the 737 MAX.”

AEROSPACE CONSULTANCY TEAL GROUP ANALYST RICHARD ABOULAFIA

“It’s a solid step forward...but the market really won’t need new-build planes for a few years, since there are 387 737 MAX’s waiting to return to service, and 450 already-built 737 MAX’s waiting to be delivered.”

“Boeing needs to re-start production at some low level. But they won’t get above 20 per month for at least two years, and they won’t get to where they wanted to be - over 50 per month -until the middle of the decade.”

AFA-CWA INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT SARA NELSON, who represents flight attendants at nearly 20 airlines

“This day is the result of the persistence of engineers and manufacturing workers at Boeing. But this day is also a reminder of why this plane has not flown for two years.”

“Flight attendants will be the ones to answer the flying public’s questions once the 737 MAX returns to service.”

BOEING Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun

“We have implemented a series of meaningful changes to strengthen the safety practices and culture of our company.”

“We have also undertaken a thorough assessment to ensure that our systems meet all regulatory standards.”

“Every next plane we deliver is an opportunity to rebuild our brand and regain trust.”

AIRBUS Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury

“I will not say anything because we are a competitor.”

CITI ANALYST JONATHAN RAVIV

“The 737 MAX is now a demand problem where Boeing has to find airlines willing to take airplanes.”

“Before COVID-19, it was a supply problem where airlines were desperate to take as many airplanes as possible. So we don’t see the inventories clearing or production rates normalizing until 2023.”

FAMILIES OF SOME VICTIMS KILLED IN FATAL 737 MAX CRASHES

“In their mission to unground the plane, Boeing’s and the FAA’s focal point has been MCAS. They ignored all the signalized engineering design flaws,” said Canada-based Paul Njoroge, who lost his entire family in one of the accidents.

“You would rather walk before you ever consider boarding a B737 MAX plane.”

Michael Stumo, father of 24-year-old Samya Rose Stumo of Massachusetts who was killed in a MAX crash, said, “The aggressive secrecy of the FAA means we cannot believe the Boeing 737 MAX is safe.”

“We have repeatedly asked for the technical descriptions of the alleged fixes, the test protocols and results and the safety assessments. But the FAA won’t release them and Boeing won’t consent to their release.”

TRANSPORT CANADA

“Transport Canada safety experts continue their independent validation process to determine whether to approve the proposed changes to the aircraft. We expect this process to conclude very soon.”

UNITED AIRLINES

“We expect to start flying the MAX in the first quarter of next year and will share a more specific schedule with our customers and employees soon.”

VERTICAL RESEARCH PARTNERS ANALYST ROBERT STALLARD

As air travel has slumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “further airline procrastination on taking their 737 MAX’s increases the risk that a 737 production ramp will again slip to the right.”

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shinjini Ganguli

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