Boeing Co. appears closer than ever to having its 737 MAX aircraft approved by regulators after being grounded worldwide for the last 19 months.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency Executive Director Patrick Ky said he’s satisfied with the steps that Boeing has taken to make the plane safe. But even after the approval to fly again, the agency will still require Boeing to make an additional software upgrade for an extra layer of redundancy. That could take another two years to complete, he said.
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In addition, there are still plane repairs and pilot training that must be completed, so while the manufacturer inches closer to having the 737 MAX re-certified, getting it into the air still won’t come until next year, at the earliest.
The 737 MAX has been grounded since March of 2019 when two separate crashes on two separate airlines killed 346 passengers and crew.
“We continue to work closely with global regulators on the rigorous process to re-certify the 737 Max and safely return the airplane to commercial service,” Boeing said in a statement. “We are committed to addressing the regulators’ questions and meeting all certification and regulatory requirements.”
Federal Aviation Administration Director Steve Dickson, a former pilot, took the plane for a test flight of his own and said he was encouraged by the progress that Boeing had made. Dickson did add that he would make some changes to the pilot training.
“Not so much in the procedures, but in the narrative that describes the procedures,” he told reporters after the flight.
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