US regulator lifts grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX

November 19, 2020
737 MAX

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has rescinded its order that halted commercial operations of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The move will allow airlines that are under the FAA’s jurisdiction including those in the US to take the steps necessary to resume service and Boeing to begin making deliveries.

“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” said David Calhoun, chief executive officer of The Boeing Company.

“These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”

READ: Massive effort to re-certify the Boeing 737 MAX

An Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA spells out the requirements that must be met before U.S. carriers can resume service including installing software enhancements, completing wire separation modifications, conducting pilot training and accomplishing thorough de-preservation activities that will ensure the aircraft are ready for service.

The numbers to get the 737 MAX back in the air are extraordinary with 391,000 engineering and software man-hours, 1,847 simulator hours, 3000 flight hours, 80 airlines and 12 aviation regulators or organisations.

The result of that global extraordinary effort is an aircraft that is as safe as the industry can make it.

“The FAA’s directive is an important milestone,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide.”

In a message to all Boeing employees, Mr Calhoun said the company had “implemented a series of meaningful changes to strengthen the safety practices and culture of our company. These include strengthening the Engineering function, establishing a Product & Services Safety organization, and implementing an enterprise-wide Safety Management System, among others.”

“We have also undertaken a thorough assessment to ensure that our systems meet all regulatory standards, reflect industry best practices, and also incorporate learnings from independent reviews. As we have throughout our history, we will keep learning and evolving, because lives depend on the work we do,” he added.

It will take Boeing about 18 months to return all 837 grounded 737 MAX aircraft to service with each requiring almost 1000 hours of work.