New software flaw could further delay return of Boeing 737 Max

Boeing addresses new 737 MAX software issue that could keep plane grounded longer

Boeing Co. said it is grappling with a new software headache before its 737 MAX can return to service, a problem industry and government officials said prevents the jet's flight-control computers from powering up as required prior to flight.

The return of the Boeing 737 MAX might be postponed also much longer. In the past, one of the 737's flight computers would operate independently and switch to the other during the next flight.

Wall Street Journal sources said Boeing and the FAA were supposed to run an important certification flight by the end of January, but the new bug makes it likely that this flight will be pushed to "at least" February.

During the process of assessing the plane a year ago, Boeing discovered another issue and had to redesign its flight-control computers.

The Max crisis has cost Boeing billions of dollars.

The source further added that the process of turning on happens when the plane is grounded, averting scope of any risks while flying. "Our highest priority is ensuring the 737 MAX is safe and meets all regulatory requirements before it returns to service", Boeing said in a statement, according to CNN.

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An internal audit in December ordered up by the US Federal Aviation Administration after the two fatal crashes found that two wiring bundles, if placed too closely together, could short circuit leading to tail control problems on the jetliner, and possibly lead to a crash if pilots don't know how to respond correctly. This is a sign that Boeing is nearing completion of changes to bring the plane back into the air.

The FAA didn't comment directly on the latest issue to arise on the problem-plagued plane.

On Thursday, Southwest said in a statement it would remove the Boeing planes from its flight schedule through June 6. Boeing's long-term issuer default rating was downgraded by Fitch to A- from A.

The FAA will ultimately have the final say on when the MAX an fly again. Pilots in both cases were able to temporarily maintain control, but eventually the jets entered steep dives and crashed.

The issue was discovered during a technical review that normally happens near the end of the software-development process, a sign that Boeing could be close to finishing changes created to get the plane back in the air. That will require moving some wiring in the plane.

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