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Boeing executives meet with head of FAA over grounded plane

Top Boeing executives have met with the head of the Federal Aviation Administration to discuss the ongoing grounding of Boeing 737 Max jetliner

WASHINGTON —
Two top Boeing executives met Thursday with Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson amid signs of further delays in the return of the grounded 737 Max.

In an email to key congressional committees, the FAA said Dickson is instructing agency safety experts to take as long as they need to review changes Boeing is making to the plane after two fatal crashes.

Boeing, meanwhile, struck an upbeat tone in describing the meeting.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the new head of Boeing’s commercial airplanes business, Stanley Deal, “had a productive meeting” with Dickson and FAA Deputy Administrator Daniell Elwell, said Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

“Boeing reaffirmed with the FAA that safety is our top shared priority, and we committed to addressing all of the FAA’s questions as they assess MAX certification and training requirements,” Johndroe said in a statement. “We will work with the FAA to support their requirements and their timeline as we work to safely return the Max to service in 2020.”

A few weeks ago, Boeing had hoped for FAA approval to resume Max shipments in December and a pilot-training program — a key step before airlines can use the planes — in January. Now that schedule is in doubt.