So much for the easy fix. With hundreds of 737 Max jets sitting on the ground and sales frozen for any more, Boeing had promised a quick fix for a software “glitch” tied to two fatal crashes overseas. The company had hoped to correct its anti-stall system
“as early as this week” to allow airlines to return to full capacity within the month. Instead, the FAA announced yesterday that it might be weeks before they even get a look at the fix:

Boeing’s software update for its troubled 737 Max jetliners has been delayed after the company deemed further work was needed on the fix before it was submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration. …

On Monday, the F.A.A. made a statement acknowledging the timing had been pushed back.

“The F.A.A. expects to receive Boeing’s final package of its software enhancement over the coming weeks for F.A.A. approval,” the agency said. “Time is needed for additional work by Boeing as the result of an ongoing review of the 737 Max Flight Control System to ensure that Boeing has identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues.”

After the F.A.A. released its statement on Monday, Boeing also acknowledged the delay.

“Boeing continues to work with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory agencies worldwide on the development and certification of the MCAS software update and training program,” it said. “We are working to demonstrate that we have identified and appropriately addressed all certification requirements and will be submitting for F.A.A. review once completed in the coming weeks.”

According to the New York Times report, problems with the proposed fix emerged during an internal review at Boeing. That’s a bit awkward for the manufacturer, since it had already begun briefing airlines and pilots on the fix and how it would be implemented. This retreat will call into question whether Boeing fully identified the scope of the problem in its 737 Max platform, at least at first.

That in turn puts a lot of pressure on the FAA to take their time with their review. They have already come under fire for allowing Boeing and other manufacturers to control as much of the approval process as they do in the wake of the 737 Max failures. If for no other reason than public relations, the FAA is not going to expedite the approval process regardless of how the delay has impacted airlines and their passengers.

Speaking of which, NBC’s Tom Costello reminds us, summer travel season is approaching. Guess what this means for travelers? If you have summer travel plans, be sure to make contingency plans and scrape up some extra dough. With capacity down, prices will be going up … and the Airbus might become very popular within the US.