Boeing brings on hundreds of new engineers as demand ramps up
Boeing has recently hired “hundreds” of new engineers for development programs as it prepares to enter new stages of the certification process with its upcoming roster of new jet variants.
The company said it is “roughly halfway through” the process to certify the 737 Max 10, the largest variant of its bestselling 737 Max jet.
Boeing is also near completion on certification for its smallest Max variant, the 737-7.
“We’ve brought on a lot more people to go through this. We’ve had to,” Mike Fleming, senior vice president of commercial development programs, said at a presentation at the company’s Everett production facility Wednesday.
Boeing is hiring a plethora of new engineers as demand increases with the pandemic continuing to slowly wane.
“As the aviation and travel industry rebound from COVID-19, Boeing is actively hiring in manufacturing and engineering,” Boeing Media Relations Rep. Connor Greenwood said. “On the engineering side, we are looking for experienced and early-career engineers to fill a variety of roles including in mechanical, production, software, systems, and other engineering disciplines.”
“It’s a good problem to have when demand is not your problem,” Fleming said, adding that the company has responded to growing eagerness by customers for the aircraft to enter service by being “as transparent as we can be and share with them where we’re at.”
Meanwhile, Boeing been conducting flight tests and fine-tuning controls on the widebody 777X, which it plans to launch in 2025. The timeline has been delayed as the company faces more regulatory scrutiny in the wake of two deadly Max crashes in 2018 and 2019 that prompted regulators to ground the plane worldwide for nearly two years.
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The same is true of the Federal Aviation Administration, Fleming added. “We’ve been out hiring engineers; they’ve been hiring engineers to bring them on board to do all this work. Absolutely, it’s taken more people.”
Fleming indicated Boeing could still meet the year-end cutoff for the Max 10 and does not face a deadline to request an extension or exemption to the rule. The company declined to provide a specific date by which it expects to certify the plane, saying that the timeframe is determined by the regulator.
“There would be ways to do it, but I think given the way that we’re working through it right now, it’s indeterminate whether that’s going to happen,” Fleming said. “What we’re focused on is not the timeline. It’s getting the work done that we need to get done in the manner that’s expected of us.”
The company is wrapping up engineering tests to receive its Type Inspection Authorization, which would kick off another round of the flight tests under the supervision of the FAA.