Boeing Completes Software Upgrade for 737 MAX Aircraft

Company working with FAA to return flights to service

US airlines may be closer to getting their Boeing 737 MAX planes back in the air -- Boeing says they've finished the software update to the plane's anti-stall system.

In a statement released on their website, the Chicago-based company said Thursday they're now working to meet the FAA's requirements to end the grounding, including detail on how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios. Once the requests are addressed, Boeing will work with the FAA to schedule its certification test flight and submit final certification documentation.

The 737 MAX planes have been grounded for nearly two months since the model was involved in two deadly plane crashes -- Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10.

In both crashes, investigators questioned the plane's anti-stall system after both planes suddenly plunged toward the earth and crashed, killing nearly 350 people.

The company said Thursday they have flown the updated software on 270 flights for 360 hours.

"With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight," said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg. "We're committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right. We're making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly. The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives depend on what we do."

Thursday's news will directly impact both Fort Worth-based American Airlines and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. Both airlines were forced to ground planes -- 24 for American and 34 for Southwest -- and have cancelled flights involving those planes through August.

Boeing said they have also developed enhanced training and education materials currently being reviewed with the FAA, global regulators, and airline customers to support return-to-service and longer-term operations.

There is currently no timeline on when the 737 MAX planes will be allowed to fly.

NBC 5's Thomas Holt contributed to this report.

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