Just two weeks after Boeing Airlines said it could restart delivery of its 737 Max aircrafts in the New Year, pending approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the regulator has released a statement all but dashing those hopes.
What’s more, the FAA has said it will be solely responsible for determining the airworthiness of each individual plane, a reversal of previous procedure which would have left Boeing to certify the respective aircrafts once the relevant certifications were granted by the FAA.
Previously, Boeing had issued a statement saying it could begin commercial flights with the troubled planes in January. In the November 11 release, the aerospace company said “We are working closely with the FAA and other regulatory authorities as we work towards certification and safe return to commercial service, and we are taking the time to answer all of their questions. With the rigorous scrutiny being applied, we are confident the MAX will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”
However, the FAA yesterday said it will take its time in the certification process to ensure the planes are safe. “The FAA has not completed its review of the 737 Max aircraft design changes and associated pilot training. The agency will not approve the aircraft for return to service until it has completed numerous rounds of rigorous testing.”
The regulator further said “Issuance of the Airworthiness Certificate is the final FAA action affirming that each newly manufactured 737 Max is airworthy.”
In addition to certification of the planes to be manufactured, the FAA will also have to certify numerous others that were built but could not be delivered due to the grounding.
Boeing’s troubles began when a Lion Air 737 Max plane crashed in the Java Sea in October 2018; later, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 went down in Addis Ababa in March 2019. All 346 people aboard the flights were killed.
A malfunctioning automated control system, which prompted the plane’s nose downwards to correct what it thought was an irregular drift upwards, was identified as the reason behind the crashes.