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With deliveries paused for 737 MAX planes, will production and jobs be cut back?

An employee walks down a stairway leading to a Boeing 737 MAX airplane on March 14, 2019 in Renton, Washington. The 737 MAX, Boeing's newest model, has been been grounded by aviation authorities throughout the world after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 on March 10. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Boeing 737 MAX planes are barred from carrying passengers, but on Friday, a few still flew, moved with only crew members on board from one airport to another for long-term parking.

Other planes expected to move to free up space are those newly built at the Renton plant.

Aviation consultant Scott Hamilton said the planes could move from the Renton airport to Boeing Field, Paine Field or even Moses Lake, where there is plenty of parking space.

Hamilton predicts the grounding will last six weeks.

Because a slowdown would disrupt the supply chain, he expects Boeing will keep the same level of production and employment.

Boeing is producing 52 planes per month in Renton but has paused deliveries because of the grounding.

“As long as this is a relatively short grounding, I don’t see any reason for anyone to worry about their jobs,” Hamilton said.

Boeing did not provide an answer to a question about production and employment.

More details about the second 737 MAX crash are expected soon from the readout of voice and flight data recorders from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The New York Times reports evidence at the crash site suggests the plane’s stabilizers were tilted upward, which would have pushed down the nose.

That’s another sign of similarity with the Lion Air crash last fall in Indonesia.

Boeing is under fire for not adequately telling pilots about new software in the MAX that is designed to prevent a stall.

The Dallas Morning News reports five 737 MAX pilots filed complaints in a federal database after the Lion Air crash.

One report says: Aircraft pitched nose down after engaging autopilot on departure. Autopilot was disconnected and flight continued to destination.”

Another states: “The flight manual is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient.”

In terms of a timeline for the software fix, Agence France-Presse reported it will be ready in 10 days, but Boeing is still saying it will happen “in the coming weeks.”

By Graham Johnson, KIRO 7

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