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Boeing 737 Max chief retires as planes stay grounded

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
A Boeing 737 Max jet plane of Air China is parked at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, 4 July 2019. Boeing said it will provide $100 million over several years to help families and communities affected by two crashes of its 737 Max plane that killed 346 people. (Photo by Chen chen - Imaginechina/Sipa USA)
A Boeing 737 Max jet plane. Photo: Chen chen - Imaginechina/Sipa USA

Boeing’s (BA) programme manager for its grounded 737 Max fleet is set to retire in the wake of two fatal crashes involving the planes.

Eric Lindblad will leave his post in the next few weeks after only around a year in the job, replaced by Mark Jenks, the current head of Boeing’s “next airplane” project, according to Reuters.

The US giant is trying to get its best-selling 737 Max model back in the air. The plane was grounded after two devastating crashes in the space of five months that saw 350 people lose their lives.

FILE - In this May 19, 2016, file photo, Eric Lindblad, vice president in charge of the Boeing 777X wing, looks over the "clean" room area of the new 777X Composite Wing Center, a day ahead of its grand opening in Everett, Wash. Lindblad, the executive who manages the Boeing 737 Max program and the Seattle-area factory where the now-grounded plane is built, said he planned to retire last summer, and a Boeing spokesman said Thursday, July 11, 2019, that Lindblad's decision was unrelated to two deadly accidents involving Max jets. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Eric Lindblad. Photo: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Jenks faces “daunting challenges, including untangling a backlog of undelivered planes, getting production back on course for planned output increases, and finishing development of the 737 MAX 10,” sources told Reuters.

Jenks was previously involved in turning around the 787 Dreamliner programme.

But Boeing made clear Jenks’ previous project, focusing on new potential mid-market planes, would continue.

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