The Boeing 737 MAX has been at the center of aviation news for the past few months, ever since questions began arising about the faulty AOA sensor readings and MCAS software system. The Lion Air crash in October 2018 caused concern, and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March of this year prompted airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX.
In an attempt to have a smooth transition and coordination in restoring Boeing’s 737 MAX back to service, four of the leading aircraft regulators in the world have agreed to work together to get the 737 MAX recertified. However, the certification process will take place after they are confident that the technical software updates have been made and the pilot training has been properly processed in the operation and safety of the MAX.
Officials from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have had numerous discussions with their counterparts in Canada, Brazil, and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The tentative pact is an attempt to reverse and resolve the current disorderly approach. The goal is to restore public trust in the aviation-safety system throughout the world after the two deadly crashes, and the grounding of Boeing’s best-selling jets on March 13.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents over 200 carriers throughout the world and was attended by more than 40 industry representatives, convened a meeting in Montreal in late June of MAX regulators, operators, and others to discuss the way forward for the troubled jet. Alexandre de Juniac, the IATA Director General, said that coordination in regulatory action was important to restore the public confidence and that additional training for the Boeing 737 MAX flight crews should be required.
Additionally, the Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, said at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival that those in the industry have been working across borders to get all the regulators to return the aircraft to flight at roughly the same time. The reasoning behind this is that there is confidence in cohesion.
Boeing has been anticipating a hopeful return to service of the MAX in September, but the jet might not be cleared until October or November depending on the work and the updates accomplished. There’s also additional documentation required by the regulators. The FAA has indicated that it may not require special MAX simulators sessions for pilots to operate the jetliner once it is cleared to resume service. However, other regulators are still considering their requirements, and all the factors are delaying the crucial FAA flight testing to recertify the jetliner.
Once the grounding becomes lifted, the first planes could be airborne within weeks, although it may take months before the over 500 MAX planes that are in storage will be able to enter the global fleet. That includes around 150 newly-built jets that haven’t yet been delivered.
While airlines are joining together to overcome this major aviation hurtle, times are still rough for Boeing. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is now being investigated, as the United States Department of Justice’s subpoenas records.