FILE - In this April 10, 2019, file photo, a Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane being built for India-based Jet Airways lands following a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle. An Ethiopian pilot pleaded with his bosses for more training on the Boeing Max, just weeks before one of the airline’s jets crashed, killing everyone on board. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
INTERNATIONAL - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects it could take until August before the Boeing 737 MAX returns to service, the airline group’s head said yesterday, adding that the final say on the timing rested with the regulators. 

The 737 MAX was grounded globally in March after a crash in Ethiopia killed all 157 people on board, the model’s second deadly crash in five months. 

“We do not expect something before 10 to 12 weeks in re-entry into service,” IATA director-general Alexandre de Juniac said in Seoul. “But it is not in our hands. It is in the hands of the regulators”. 

IATA plans to organise a summit with airlines, regulators and Boeing in five to seven weeks to discuss what is needed for the 737 MAX to return to service, he said. 

The airline industry has had a tough six months with fuel, labour and infrastructure costs increasing, and trade tensions rising in addition to the 737 MAX grounding, De Juniac said. 

IATA’s forecast for $35.5 billion (R523.8bn) in industry profits in 2019 is set to be lowered.