Boeing said Tuesday it was hit with another 12 cancelled orders for the 737 MAX, as the flagship aircraft is close to returning to the skies after being grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes.

The American aviation giant, which has been battered by the MAX crisis as well as the fallout from the pandemic that has devastated airline travel, received no new orders last month and delivered only 13 aircraft.

The plane was grounded after two crashes that killed a total of 46 people, but the company has been working with regulators to address the issues that contributed to the accidents and was closer to receiving the green light to return to service.

According to news reports that could be as soon as November 18.

Boeing 737 MAX
US regulators are days away from approving the Boeing 737 MAX to return to the skies AFP / Jason Redmond

"The Federal Aviation Administration is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed changes to the Boeing 737 MAX," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said on Monday in a message sent to AFP.

"We expect that this process will be finished in the coming days, once the agency is satisfied that Boeing has addressed the safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302."

Airlines can then start training their pilots, which could take several weeks.

American Airlines currently plans to return the 737 MAX to service in the final days of the year, with daily flights from December 29 to January 4 on Miami-New York routes.

Southwest, which has more of the aircraft in its fleet, is not planning to schedule passenger flights on the plane before the second quarter of 2021.