Boeing’s 737 Max can safely return to the skies with an extensive package of fixes, US regulators ruled, after the plane was grounded for close to two years following two fatal crashes that killed almost 350 people.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said Boeing can fly its 737 Max jet again after the crashes - in Indonesia, 2018 and Ethiopia, 2019 - triggered regulatory scrutiny and corporate upheaval.
It marks the end to the longest grounding of a commercial jet in US history, of 20 months, and set the stage for airlines and other regulators around the world to put the plane back in the skies.
The crisis that has engulfed the company and cost former chief executive Dennis Muilenburg his job.
The decision sent Boeing shares up almost 3pc in New York, but the stock is still down more than a third this year.
Boeing posted revenues of $14.1bn (£10.9bn) for the three months to September, down 29pc on the same period last year. It has announced some 26,000 redundancies.
Just 28 jets were handed over to customers during the quarter, down from 62 in the same period last year, as it tried to get the 737 Max certified as safe to fly.
Steve Dickson, head of the FAA, had previously said the 737 Max would not be cleared to fly again until he flies the plane himself with his wife and children on board.
The decision on Wednesday marks a turning point for Boeing after more than two years of bad news surrounding its best-selling model.
However, returning the Max to the skies will not mean an immediate end to the controversy or help Boeing's financial woes.
A criminal investigation by the US Justice Department continues. Frayed relations with the FAA threaten to result in fines or other penalties and the Securities and Exchange Commission also has an open investigation.
Airlines have cancelled orders for the Max as the pandemic crushed the airline industry, thwarting Boeing’s plans to stem its losses.
“It’s Boeing’s most important program and the United States’ most important manufactured product, but you couldn’t ask for a worse market right now,” said Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst with Teal Group.
“It’s not a question of opening the floodgates and watching the cash pour in the way it would’ve been a year ago.”