Boeing invites industry to 737 Max factory in charm offensive

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are stored on employee parking lots near Boeing Field, on June 27, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. After a pair of crashes, the 737 MAX has been grounded by the FAA and other aviation agencies since March, 13, 2019.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images

Boeing is inviting airline industry members, experts and analysts to its facilities in the Seattle area this week in an effort to outline its plan to bring the beleaguered 737 Max back to service after two fatal crashes.

The manufacturer is scrambling to gain regulator approval to return the jets to the skies, a process it hopes to conclude this month, but regulators have publicly said several times that they don’t have ant timeline.

The planes have been grounded since mid-March after the second of two crashes within five months of nearly brand-new 737 Maxes, killing a total of 346 people.

Boeing on Tuesday and Wednesday will host the invitees, who do not include the media, and offer briefings with executives, according to an invitation seen by CNBC. The invitation, which includes a visit to Boeing’s aircraft delivery center and its Max production facility in Renton, offers to cover flight and hotel expenses.

It is the latest attempt by Boeing to gain support and rebuild public trust in the planes as the grounding enters its 10th month. Airlines have lost hundreds of millions of dollars and curbed their growth plans because of the grounding.

In addition to industry analysts, representatives from flight attendant unions are also attending, including those that represent cabin crews at United and American.

Pilots and flight attendants will be key in reassuring the public about the planes after approval, executives have said.

Flight-control software that was erroneously activated in both crashes prompted Boeing to develop a fix, but government safety officials have not yet signed off on it.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which is under fire for first approving the planes in 2017, will take the unusual step of reviewing each new 737 Max before they’re delivered to airline customers.