Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX 8 aircraft could be cleared for takeoff in a matter of weeks by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, according to reports.
The Seattle Times reported that following a pair of meetings between aviation officials and airlines in Texas and Montreal last week, officials with knowledge of the meetings said that barring any new issues that arise from the meetings, the FAA is likely to approve the MAX 8 for flight in the U.S. as soon as next month. A confirmed date for the lifting of the grounding order is yet to be officially announced.
In a press statement following the recent meetings, FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said that the organization is awaiting “Boeing’s completed for changes to the MAX. Once received we perform our final risk assessments and analyses, taking into account findings of the TAB and any information we receive from our international counterparts. We’ll also take part in test flights of a modified 737 MAX and weigh all the information together before making the decision to return the aircraft to service.
“Internationally, each country has to make its own decisions, but the FAA will make available to our counterparts all that we have learned, all that we have done, and all of our assistance under our International Civil Aviation Organization commitments.
The meetings covered a number of points, including:
- How the FAA responded to the MAX accidents and how we’re supporting the two international accident investigations
- How the FAA plans to certify Boeing’s MCAS changes and how it’s been sharing information with all the regulators here;
- The latest status on the Technical Advisory Board, or TAB, which is reviewing Boeing’s MCAS software update and system safety assessment;
- Details of the Boeing’s proposed changes to the MAX – both to the flight control system and pilot training;
- A review of the technical steps and sequence of events that the FAA anticipate would be involved in ungrounding the MAX fleet here in the United States; and
- A discussion of international considerations for returning the MAX to service outside the United States
The aircraft were grounded around the world March 13 following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 on March 10, killing 150 passengers.