January 24, 2020 / 7:43 PM / in a month

FAA administrator to tell U.S. airlines MAX approval could come before mid-year

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson is calling senior U.S. airline officials Friday to tell them that the agency could approve the grounded Boeing 737 MAX's return to service before mid-year, a government official said Friday.

Dickson's calls come days after Boeing said it was pushing back its time-line for approval of the plane's return and "currently estimating that the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020."

The agency confirmed in a statement Friday that Dickson is making calls "to reiterate that the FAA has set no time frame for completion of certification work on the aircraft." The agency added it is "pleased with Boeing’s progress in recent weeks toward achieving key milestones."

FAA approval before mid-year could only happen if Boeing continues to make complete and thorough submissions, the official said, and emphasized that unforeseen issues could always potentially delay approval. (Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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