The aircraft could, however, theoretically, go back into service one day.
According to Strickland, groundings are rare, but when they happen, it doesn’t mean the plane will be out of service forever. As he explained, in 2013, another Boeing plane was grounded — the 787 — after suffering battery issues.
At the time, BBC reported, the worry was that the batteries could leak and cause corrosion on vital equipment and potentially cause fires. Boeing stood by its airplanes then as it’s doing today as well. And, just a few short months after the planes were initially grounded the Federal Aviation Administration allowed the aircraft to return to service after changes were made to the battery systems.
“They knew what the problem was and came up with a clear fix and a modification to deal with the problem,” Strickland said. But, again, as for the 737 Max 8 planes now on the ground, he noted, “We don’t know yet what the causes were so we can’t define what the solution might be.”
However, he added that we do know after the Lion Air crash Boeing was already undertaking a software modification of systems that “have been talked about a lot in the last few days. And that is still underway.” Strickland added, “We don’t know how long these planes will be on the ground.”
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