Trade group to hold meeting of airlines affected by Boeing's grounded 737 MAX

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(Reuters) - A trade group is inviting airlines that use Boeing Co 737 MAX jets to meet next week to discuss challenges they face as a result of the grounding of the airline model involved in two fatal crashes, as they prepare to reintroduce the planes into operation.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it would convene a meeting in Montreal, Canada on May 23 and invite airlines that have the Boeing 737 MAX in their fleet or on order.

“The meeting is for airlines only, although updates from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing will feature on the agenda,” IATA said in a statement.

IATA counts around 290 airlines as members of its association, of which 28 have the Boeing 737 MAX in their fleet.

Boeing’s 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March following a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board just five months after a similar crash on a Lion Air flight that killed all 189 passengers and crew.

May 23 is also the same day the U.S. FAA is planning a meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, with air regulators from around the world to update them on reviews of Boeing’s planned software update and new pilot training.

Boeing has said the software upgrade and associated pilot training will add layers of protection to prevent erroneous data from triggering a system called MCAS, which activated in the Ethiopian Airlines crash and also during the Lion Air crash.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker