COLOGNE, GERMANY – According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) the Boeing 737 MAX is safe to fly and will probably be allowed to fly again soon, EASA director Patrick Ky said to Bloomberg.
In September the organization conducted test flights with the aircraft. “Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us,” Ky said. “What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”
The EASA director expects that approval of the aircraft can be finalized next month. Then a period will follow in which other parties are allowed to respond to this.
The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded for more than a year and a half, due to 2 fatal accidents with the aircraft type that occurred within a period of 5 months. The crash with 737 MAX aircraft in Indonesia (Lion Air Flight 610) on October 29, 2018 and Ethiopia (Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302) on March 10, 2019 killed a total of 346 people.
After the second accident, flights with the 737 MAX were banned worldwide. The investigations showed later that the crashes were caused by a failing safety system, which kept pushing the nose of the aircraft down. That error has been resolved with an update of the software.
In the U.S. the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also finalizing its final requirements for software updates for the MAX. The FAA is also expected to give permission to fly the aircraft again in November.
The green light for the Boeing 737 MAX has been coming for a while. Early September, Boeing received its first new order for the 737 MAX from Polish charter airline Enter Air. However, the Boeing 737 MAX has caused billions of dollars in losses to Boeing. For example, Boeing also received a lot of cancelled orders. The total number of cancellations for the previously popular model rose to 445 in August.
In addition to the aftermath of the 737 MAX disasters, the aircraft manufacturer is also suffering from the corona crisis. This resulted in less demand for new aircraft. Boeing delivered a record number of 806 aircraft in record year 2018 – even before the 737 MAX problems occurred – and 308 aircraft in 2019. Experts expect 138 aircraft will be delivered this year.