United States clears Boeing 737 Max to fly again

A flagship aircraft from the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing will once again be able to stroke the clouds. This Wednesday, the United States authorized the Boeing 737 Max to fly again, after long months grounded. The model had been banned from flight since an air disaster in March 2019.

After nearly two years of scrutiny, corporate upheaval and a stalemate with global regulators, Boeing on Wednesday obtained approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly its 737 MAX again. The model had been involved in two air disasters, in October 2018 (Lion Air) and in March 2019 (Ethiopian Airlines). His suspension, which took place in the days following the second accident, ultimately lasted 20 months, the longest in the history of commercial aviation.

FAA administrator Steve Dickson signed an order lifting the flight ban early Wednesday and the agency issued an airworthiness directive detailing the changes needed. The FAA needs new pilot training and software upgrades to manage a stall prevention system called MCAS, which in both crashes repeatedly and powerfully pushed the nose of the jet as the pilots struggled to regain control. The FAA, which has been accused of being too close to Boeing in the past, has said it will no longer allow Boeing to sign the airworthiness of some 450 737 MAXs built and parked during the ban. It provides for in-person inspections that could take a year or more, thus delaying the delivery of the jets.

The 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people in five months in 2018 and 2019 and sparked a storm of investigations. They have shaken America’s leadership in global aviation and cost Boeing some $ 20 billion. The American aircraft maker’s best-selling aircraft will resume commercial service amid strong headwinds due to the resurgence of a coronavirus pandemic, new European tariffs and mistrust of one of the most scrutinized brands in aviation. “Our family was brokenNaoise Ryan, whose 39-year-old husband died on Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 said Tuesday. “We are in pain and most likely will continue to suffer for a very long time, if not for the rest of our lives.»

A control cell to monitor all flights

When it flies, Boeing will run a 24-hour control cell to monitor all MAX journeys for issues that could impact the plane’s return, from stuck landing gear to health emergencies, they said. said three people familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, Boeing is working to maintain maintenance and find new buyers for many of its 737 MAXs put on hold after receiving cancellations from their original buyers. Demand is further undermined by the coronavirus crisis. Even with all the hurdles, the resumption of deliveries of the 737 MAX will open up a crucial liquidity pipeline for Boeing and hundreds of parts suppliers whose finances have been strained by production cuts linked to the jet.

Numerous reports have criticized Boeing and the FAA over the development of the aircraft. A report from the US House of Representatives in September said Boeing had failed in the design and development of the MAX, and the FAA had failed in its oversight and certification. He also criticized Boeing for withholding crucial information from the FAA, its customers and pilots, including “conceal the very existence of MCAS from 737 MAX pilots“. Boeing faces legal action from the families of the crash victims. The House unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday to reform the way the FAA certifies aircraft, while a Senate committee is due to consider a similar bill on Wednesday.

Leading regulators in Europe, Brazil and China are also due to issue their own approvals for their airlines after independent reviews, illustrating how the 737 MAX crashes upended a once-US-dominated airline safety system in which countries large and small for decades have evolved in sync with the FAA.

The 737 MAX is a re-engined upgrade of a jet aircraft first introduced in the 1960s. Single-aisle jets like the MAX and its rival Airbus A320neo are workhorses that dominate global fleets and are a source major profit for the industry. American Airlines plans to relaunch the first MAX commercial flight since the grounding on December 29. Southwest Airlines, the world’s largest MAX operator, does not plan to fly the plane until the second quarter of 2021.

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