Boeing expects to resume 737 MAX deliveries in December and for its customer airlines to gain commercial service approval in January, subject to completing any necessary training.

The news perhaps comes too late for American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) and Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field), which just days before the manufacturer's announcement decided to continue removing the troubled 737 MAX from their respective schedules until early-March - nearly 12 months after the type's grounding.

The news is a clear indication that the company must be close to completing the process of winning regulators’ approval for the aircraft, despite the fact that the return to service is much later than the company’s previous estimates.

If the 737 MAX grounding is lifted in December and training approved in January “airlines could resume commercial service,” a Boeing spokesman said. “We know they need more time to get their fleets ready and pilots trained, but the plane and training [approvals] will both be done by January, permitting commercial service.”

Contrary to the airframer's assertions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reiterated in a statement on the same day that its officials “have set no timeframe for when the work will be completed.”

“The FAA is following a thorough process for returning the 737 MAX to passenger service. We continue to work with other international aviation safety regulators to review the proposed changes to the aircraft.”

The manufacturer's 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded since last March following two fatal crashes which killed nearly 350 people.