Trump called Boeing CEO ahead of MAX shutdown: source

Trump called Boeing CEO ahead of MAX shutdown: source

President Donald Trump phoned the head of Boeing ahead of the company's announcement Monday that it was halting production of the 737 MAX, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Trump called Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg on Sunday for details about the MAX production plans, the person said, confirming reports in US media.

Muilenburg assured Trump that the company's plan to halt output on the troubled plane would not result in layoffs, the person told AFP.

The MAX has been grounded since mid-March following two deadly crashes that together killed 346 people.

Boeing announced Monday that it was shutting down production for an unspecified time, saying the move was necessary because the regulatory process to recertify the plane was taking longer than expected.

That has hampered the ability to safely deliver some 400 planes built and stored since the regulators grounded the popular aircraft.

The MAX crisis is expected to hit Boeing's earnings for the next couple of years, and economists say the temporary halt to production will constrain US economic growth through at least the first quarter of 2020 because of the hit to exports and suppliers.

Moody's cut its debt rating on Boeing by one notch late Wednesday, citing regulatory uncertainty over the MAX and heightened costs associated with the production shutdown and an eventual ramp-up.

"The downgrades follow the extension of the grounding of the 737 MAX into 2020, the announced plan to shut down this important program for some interim period, and the uncertainty and elevated risk -- both financial and operational -- for Boeing and its broader supply chain over the ensuing period," Moody's analyst Jonathan Root said.

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