The Boeing 737 MAX is one step closer to returning to Canadian airspace.
Transport Canada, on Monday (Jan. 18), issued an Airworthiness Directive for the aircraft, outlining additional requirements that will allow the 737 MAX return to service.
This latest update concludes the department’s review of the aircraft, which was grounded worldwide in March 2019 following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians.
As part of Transport Canada’s independent review process, the department’s civil aviation certification and flight safety experts were instrumental in guiding the aircraft design changes.
Unique Canadian measures
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the aircraft in November, announcing that it would make changes to software and wiring systems on each plane and provide simulator training to pilots.
Safety experts at Transport Canada took more time to complete their own review, and as such, the agency has introduced unique Canadian measures to further enhance the safety of the aircraft.
In addition to all reviews, and to provide additional assurances that all measures are in place, an Interim Order that clearly indicates Transport Canada’s expectations and requirements for additional training for crew members was also issued for operators.
It is complementary to the design and maintenance requirements of the Airworthiness Directive.
What comes next?
As a final step in this process, Transport Canada will lift the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which prohibits the commercial operation of the aircraft in Canadian airspace on January 20, 2021.
This will allow for the return to service of the aircraft in Canada.
In a release, Transport Canada says it has spent "well over 15,000 review hours" on the Boeing 737 MAX.
“Over the last 20 months, Transport Canada’s civil aviation safety experts, by their rigour and thoroughness, have ensured the safety concerns the department had identified have been addressed," stated Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport. "Canadians and the airline industry can rest assured that Transport Canada has diligently addressed all safety issues prior to permitting this aircraft to return to service in Canadian airspace.”
Throughout the department’s independent review, it has worked extensively with the FAA and other key certifying authorities, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), as well as Canadian airline operators, crews and union associations on the implementation of these measures.
Transport Canada says Canadian operators are implementing the required measures and will be ready for the return to service of the aircraft in the coming days and weeks.
Canadian airline operators have also collaborated in the development of the new training program.
In addition, since Transport Canada approved the revised training program for the three Canadian Operators on Dec. 21, 2020, these airlines have been actively training their pilots.
For a detailed Q&A on Transport Canada's validation process of the 737 MAX aircraft, click here.
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