After nearly two years of investigation, business turmoil and a clash with global regulators, Boeing won approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday for its 737 MAX jet to fly again after two fatal crashes.
The FAA detailed the software updates and changes to pilot training that Boeing must make in order for the 737 MAX to resume commercial flights after a 20-month hiatus. the longest in the history of commercial aviation.
Regulators around the world grounded the Max in March 2019 after the crash of a Ethiopian Airlines. That happened less than five months after another Max flown by Lion Air of Indonesia sank in the Java Sea. A total of 346 passengers and crew members of both planes died. The accidents triggered a wave of investigations, damaging America’s leadership in global aviation and costing Boeing about $ 20 billion.
The measure follows comprehensive hearings in Congress on accidents that led to criticism of the FAA for lax oversight and Boeing for rushing to implement a new software system that put profit before safety and ultimately led to the firing of its CEO.
The researchers focused on anti-lock software that Boeing had designed to counteract the aircraft’s tendency to tilt upward. due to the size and location of the motors. That software pushed the nose down repeatedly in both planes that crashed, overcoming the pilots’ struggles to regain control. In each case, a single faulty sensor triggered the nose-down step.
The FAA required Boeing to change the software so that it does not repeatedly point the nose of the plane down to counter possible aerodynamic stall.. Boeing says the software also doesn’t override the pilot’s controls like it did in the past. Boeing must also install new display systems for pilots and change the way cables are routed to a tail stabilizer bar.
“These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.” Boeing CEO David Calhoun said in a statement.
Despite the authorization, the best-selling aircraft of the American firm will resume its commercial services facing significant obstacles, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the new European tariffs and the mistrust raised by one of the companies most watched by regulators in the world of aviation.
“Our family broke up”Naoise Ryan, whose husband was killed on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, said Tuesday. “We are suffering and we are likely to continue to suffer for a long time, if not for the rest of our lives.”
Almost 400 Max aircraft were in service around the world when they were grounded, and Boeing has built and stored about 450 more since then. Everyone has to undergo maintenance and some modifications before they can fly.
American Airlines plans to relaunch the MAX’s first commercial flight since its standstill on December 29. Southwest Airlines, the world’s largest operator of the model, It does not plan to fly the aircraft until the second quarter of 2021.
Leading regulators in Europe, Brazil and China must also issue their own approvals for their airlines after independent reviews, exposing how the 737 MAX accidents changed a once-dominated US-dominated aviation safety system, in which countries large and small moved in the wake of the FAA for decades.
When I cross the sky again, Boeing will have a special group in place 24 hours a day to monitor all flights and detect problems that may impact the return of the aircraft.said three people familiar with the matter.
(With information from Reuters Y AP)