Boeing has provided a status update on its once best-selling narrow-body aircraft, the 737 MAX. The manufacturer, whose main priority is the “safe return to the service” of the newest iteration of the 737, states that it is still hopeful to start re-deliveries of the aircraft this December, with commercial services with the MAX beginning in January 2020.
However, the ball remains in the authorities’ court, as they “will determine the timing of certification and return to commercial service,” Boeing states. Nevertheless, the manufacturer has a clear target that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will approve the required software updates to the aircraft in Q4 2019, which would result in deliveries and commercial flights starting in the aforementioned timeframe.
The Chicago-based company highlighted five crucial steps in order for the 737 MAX to be approved by the FAA once again, including eCab Simulator Certification Sessions, Pilots Crew Workload Evaluation, Certification Flight Test, submission of the final documents and a simulator training evaluation by a Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB), compromising of multiple regulatory bodies. Boeing says that it has completed the first step of the process, which is the eCab Simulator Certification Sessions, aimed at ensuring that the software onboard the 737 MAX “performs its intended function, both normally and in the presence of system failures”.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Patrick Ky shared his views on the 737 MAX on November 4, 2019, at the EASA Annual Safety Conference in Helsinki, Finland. He expects the aircraft to once again fly commercially in late-Q1 2020, even if EASA approves Boeing’s changes to the MAX in January 2020.
However, United States airlines, namely American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV) have both postponed 737 MAX return to March 2020. Previous to this, both airlines expected the MAX to fly in January 2020.