United Airlines to extend Boeing 737 Max grounding through November

Boeing's 737 program manager, Eric Lindblad, will retire in a matter of weeks after roughly 12 months on the job, McAllister told employees in the memo.

United Airlines extended its grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft through early November amid continued testing of the beleaguered passenger jet, the Chicago-based company announced Friday.

But Boeing made clear Jenks' previous project, focusing on new potential mid-market planes, would continue.

A Boeing spokesman said Thursday Lindblad's retirement was long planned and is unrelated to two Max accidents.

Three hundred and forty-six people were killed between the two 737 Max crashes, which took place in October and March.

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The 34-year Boeing executive has been in the post for about a year.

Boeing's single-aisle program will be run by Mark Jenks, who headed all aspects of a proposed aircraft known within Boeing as NMA, for new midmarket airplane.

Mike Sinnett, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of product development and future airplane development, will assume the role of vice president for NMA in addition to his current role, the memo said. Jenks previously managed the Boeing 787, which was grounded in 2013 after batteries overheated on several planes. The NMA program, if it goes ahead, will most likely not be launched before spring or summer of next year, the sources said.

Lindblad, 57, "shared with me his desire to retire a year ago, and we will now begin to embark on a thoughtful and seamless transition plan", Kevin McAllister, who runs the planemaker's $60 billion commercial division said in a message to employees Thursday.

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