Trump urges Boeing to move fast on resolving 737 MAX issues

Trump urges Boeing to move fast on resolving 737 MAX issues

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he had no doubt that Boeing Co's new chief executive, David Calhoun, would be able to turn the company around as it grapples with the two fatal crashes of its 737 MAX plane.

U.S. President Trump hosts U.S.-China trade signing ceremony at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks prior to signing "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade agreement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Boeing Co to move quickly to resolve issues with the grounded 737 MAX, noting the planemaker's significant impact on the U.S. economy.

Trump referenced studies that suggested the production halt of the 737 MAX could shave 0.5per cent from U.S. gross domestic product this year.

"Get that going. Work together," Trump said to Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith at a White House event to sign the Phase 1 trade deal with China. "We’ve got to get that one moving fast and it’s going to be better than ever I think."

Boeing is halting production this month of the plane that has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. Last week, Boeing's biggest supplier, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc said it plans to lay off more than 20per cent of its workforce in Wichita, Kansas, as it grapples with halted production and uncertainty over when 737 MAX jets will return to service.

Trump said he had no doubt that Boeing's new Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun, would be able to turn things around.

"It's not your fault. He just got there," Trump said of Calhoun, a director at Boeing for the last decade who became CEO on Monday.

"You'll straighten it out quickly please?" Trump asked Calhoun.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is not expected to approve the MAX's return to service until February at the earliest and perhaps not until March or later, Reuters has reported.

On Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday that "There’s no question that the Boeing situation is going to slow down the GDP numbers. "Boeing is one of the largest exporters, and with the 737 Max, I think that could impact GDP as much as 50 basis points this year."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and David Shepardson; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

Source: Reuters