U.S. approves 737Max planes to end 20-month on ground
Boeing removes ‘Max’ designation
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), yesterday, approved the embattled 737-8s and 737-9s Max airplanes to resume commercial operations in the American airspace.
The move will allow airlines that are under the FAA’s jurisdiction, including those in the U.S., to take the steps necessary to resume service and Boeing to begin making deliveries.
While the 737-8s and 737-9s would undergo further assessments ahead of approvals in other countries, the American manufacturer, Boeing, has removed ‘Max’ term from the designation.
U.S. FAA Chief, Steve Dickson, was “100 per cent confident” in the safety of the Boeing 737 Max, but says the airplane maker has more to do as it works to improve its safety culture.
Dickson on Wednesday, signed an order to allow the bestselling plane to resume flights after it was grounded worldwide in March 2019, following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people and led to Boeing’s biggest crisis in decades.
The order will end the longest grounding in commercial aviation history, and paves the way for Boeing to resume U.S. deliveries and commercial flights by the end of the year.
“We’ve done everything humanly possible to make sure these types of crashes do not happen again. Design changes have eliminated what caused these particular accidents.”
The FAA is requiring new training to deal with a key safety system called MCAS, which is faulted for the two fatal crashes, as well as significant new safeguards and other software changes.
“I feel 100 per cent confident,” said Dickson, a former airline and military pilot, who took over as FAA administrator in August 2019, and took the controls for a 737 Max test flight in September.
Canadian Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, said commercial flight restrictions for the operation of the 737 Max aircraft in Canadian airspace will not be lifted until the government is satisfied that all its safety concerns have been addressed, and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place in Canada.
Garneau said: “Transport Canada safety experts continue their independent validation process to determine whether to approve the proposed changes to the aircraft. We expect this process to conclude very soon.
“However, there will be differences between what the FAA has approved today, and what Canada will require for its operators. These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training.”
In his reaction, the Chief Executive Officer, The Boeing Company, David Calhoun, said: “We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations. 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.”
Throughout the past 20 months, Boeing has worked closely with airlines, providing them with detailed recommendations regarding long-term storage and ensuring their input was part of the effort to safely return the airplanes to service.
An Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA spells out the requirements that must be met before U.S. carriers can resume service; including installing software enhancements, completing wire separation modifications, conducting pilot training and accomplishing thorough de-preservation activities that will ensure the airplanes are ready for service.
Stan Deal said, “The FAA’s directive is an important milestone,” president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“We will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide.”
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