- Europe’s aviation regulator says the Boeing 737 Max is sure to return to the skies. The FAA, which is Boeing’s chief regulator, has not committed to a date when the 737 Max will be able to fly again.
- And American Airlines just announced plans to fly 737 Max flights between Miami and New York from December 29th.
- 737 Max was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes that resulted in the deaths of 346 people. Authorities around the world, including the FAA, have reviewed the 737 Max’s design and security features.
- Boeing completed its first recertification test flight in June this year.
- Visit the Business Insider website for more stories.
Since grounding the aircraft, Boeing has been working on a complete redesign of the aircraft’s aircraft software.
On Friday, Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told Bloomberg that he was pleased with the changes Boeing had made to the aircraft. Ky added that the 737 Max could start flying in Europe before the end of 2020.
American Airlines on Sunday announced plans to fly 737 Max aircraft between Miami and New York from December 29 to January 4. The airline said it is taking a “step-by-step approach” and has not confirmed whether it will continue to use the aircraft beyond this period. American Airlines’ plans are dependent on a green light from the Federal Aviation Administration, which has not yet committed to a timeline for approving the 737 Max.
The 737 Max is said to have a longer range, lower operating costs and enough in common with previous models that pilots could switch back and forth between the two seamlessly.
The crash also questioned Boeing’s training practices. During the rollout of the aircraft, pilots were only required to take a short tablet-based course rather than train in a simulator as they would for a new aircraft.
A so-called synthetic sensor, a software update required by EASA in 2019, has still not been implemented by Boeing and is not expected to be ready for another two years. But EASA says the aircraft currently meets safety standards and that the “third sensor” would meet even higher safety levels.
The FAA is Boeing’s principal regulator, and under international law, the 737 Max will not be able to fly until the FAA allows it. In June, Boeing conducted its first recertification flight test, one of the many steps required before the aircraft can return to service.
Several federal investigations are underway, looking at the design of the beam as part of an attempt to determine how it was initially allowed to be certified and whether there was criminal negligence behind the design. The fallout from the collapse eventually cost then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg his job.
Meanwhile, Boeing is currently seeking to settle cases brought by the families of those killed in the second of the two fatal crashes. An Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed into the ground in March 2019, killing all 157 people on board.
Boeing has pretty much settled cases from the previous October 2018 crash of a 737 Max operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air, in which 189 people died.
But the cases brought in connection with the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Boeing is taking a “burnt ground” approach, a contrast to the Lion Air cases, Business Insider has reported.
A lawyer involved in the case says Boeing’s lawyers refused to provide evidence requested by the victims’ representatives. Boeing says it had taken its obligations to present evidence “seriously.”
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