Trump urges Boeing to move fast on resolving 737 MAX issues

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Boeing Co (BA.N) to move quickly to resolve issues with the grounded 737 MAX, noting the planemaker’s significant impact on the U.S. economy. Trump referenced studies that suggested the production halt of the 737 MAX could shave 0.5% from U.S. gross domestic product this year. “Get that going. Work together,” Trump said to Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith at a White House event to sign the Phase 1 trade deal with China. “We’ve got to get that one moving fast and it’s going to be better than ever I think.” Boeing is halting production this month of the plane that has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. Last week, Boeing’s biggest supplier, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc (SPR.N) said it plans to lay off more than 20% of its workforce in Wichita, Kansas, as it grapples with halted production and uncertainty over when 737 MAX jets will return to service. Trump said he had no doubt that Boeing’s new Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun, would be able to turn things around. “It’s not your fault. He just got there,” Trump said of Calhoun, a director at Boeing for the last decade who became CEO on Monday. “You’ll straighten it out quickly please?” Trump asked Calhoun. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is not expected to approve the MAX’s return to service until February at the earliest and perhaps not until March or later, Reuters has reported. On Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday that “There’s no question that the Boeing situation is going to slow down the GDP numbers. “Boeing is one of the largest exporters, and with the 737 Max, I think that could impact GDP as much as 50 basis points this year.”

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