Boeing plans to restart production of its 737 MAX jet by May.
That's according to sources familiar with the matter.
The restart would end a months-long stoppage sparked by a safety ban on Boeing's best-selling jet.
Boeing's plans depend on the seriousness of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus as well as clearance from U.S. regulators, which Boeing still expects to get in mid-2020.
One industry source told Reuters Boeing has asked some suppliers to get ready to ship parts as early as April.
Another said the coronavirus has forced Boeing to push production back to May.
When asked about the May restart goal, Boeing CFO Greg Smith told Reuters on Tuesday (March 24) that quote, "It'll be a very slow, methodical, systematic approach to warming the line up, and getting crews back in place." Boeing ceased production of the 737 Max in January as it struggled to win regulatory approvals.
In the meantime a backlog piled up of 400 undelivered jets.
Now, the coronavirus pandemic has added on to that crisis, wiping out global travel demand and erasing billions from Boeing's market value.
This week Boeing said it would halt production in Washington state to cut the risk of spreading the virus, beginning on Wednesday (March 25).
It has reported dozens of cases across its Seattle-area facilities.
One worker died from the virus, according to a friend's Facebook tribute on Monday (March 23).
Boeing is now seeking $60 billion in U.S. government aid to prop up its finances and the battered American aerospace supply chain.
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