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Boeing to temporarily halt 737 Max production in January

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Boeing will temporarily halt production of its troubled 737 Max airliner in January, the manufacturer said.

Production of the jet had continued despite the model being grounded for nine months after two deadly crashes.

More than 300 people died when two 737 Max aircraft crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia after reported problems with a new feature.

Boeing had been hoping to have the aircraft back in the air by the end of this year.

But US regulators made it clear that the planes would not be certified to return to the skies that quickly.

Boeing, based in Seattle, Washington is one of the US’s largest exporters. The company said in a statement that it would not lay off workers associated with the 737 Max, but the stoppage is likely to affect suppliers and the wider economy.

“Safely returning the 737 Max to service is our top priority,” the aircraft manufacturer said. “We know that the process of approving the 737 Max’s return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust, to ensure that our regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 Max updates.”

The suspension of the 737 Max has already cost Boeing around $9bn (£6.75bn; €8.07bn). Boeing shares fell more than 4% on Monday amid speculation the airline would announce a production suspension.

The manufacturer said that it had 400 of the 737 Max aircraft in storage and would focus on delivering those to customers.