Boeing's CEO said Wednesday that approval for the troubled 737 Max to fly again could come from different countries at different times.
"I think a phased ungrounding of the airplane amongst regulators around the world is a possibility,"
Dennis Muilenburg told a Morgan Stanley conference.
That means the Federal Aviation Administration might allow the Max to fly while regulators elsewhere keep evaluating the company's fix after two crashes killed 346 people and grounded the aircraft worldwide.
Aviation industry consultant Scott Hamilton said that could cause a perception problem and make it harder to persuade passengers to board the planes.
"A passenger who arrives at the airport and discovers he's about to take a Max might say, 'Why is it safe here when the Europeans say it's not safe?'"
Muilenburg said Wednesday that he still expected the 737 Max to return to service in the fourth quarter of 2019.
In July, he said the company would consider pausing production in Renton if the return to service was delayed.
"We don't see anything right now that would drive us to those actions but we are responsibly looking at those scenarios," Muilenburg said Wednesday.
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