The coronavirus pandemic is expected to delay the return of Boeing Co.'s
737 Max to the skies until at least late summer or early fall, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people briefed on the matter. The company's 737 Max fleet has been grounded since last March following two deadly crashes related to an anti-stall system. The Federal Aviation Administration is not expected to approve the lifting of the grounding until August or later, as officials work from home, putting further pressure on the aerospace company, which is also being hit as airlines around the world stop flying during the pandemic. The FAA has not signed off on details of two outstanding software fixes to flight-control systems because agency experts are still reviewing them, according to one U.S. government official, and the contagion has slowed other parts of the effort, the paper reported. Boeing has asked the U.S. government for bailout funds. Airlines are expected to cancel or defer orders for planes that they may no longer need or be able to afford, said the report. Boeing shares were up 0.8% premarket but have fallen 58% in the year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
which counts Boeing as a member, has fallen 18% and the S&P 500
[ has fallen 13%.