Boeing has received a tentative green light from Europe's top aviation regulator for its troubled 737 MAX aircraft to take flight again.
Europe’s top aviation regulator told Bloomberg on Friday that he’s satisfied that changes to Boeing's 737 MAX have made the plane safe enough to return at least to Europe's skies before the end of 2020.
Patrick Ky, head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told Bloomberg that the EASA is performing final document reviews ahead of a draft airworthiness directive it expects to issue next month.
The agency last month conducted test flights with a new software-based solution that includes a so-called synthetic sensor that helps pilots take over the plane when one or both of the aircraft’s mechanical angle-of-attack sensors on the MAX fails.
Problems with the so-called MCAS sensors, which monitor whether a plane is pointed up or down relative to the oncoming air, are believed to be what caused two separate crashes that took 346 lives and prompted all 737 MAX planes to be grounded in March 2019.
The green light for the MAX in Europe follows a damning 245-page report released last month by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that cited a “horrific culmination” of missteps by Boeing engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing management and “grossly insufficient” oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration are what led to the two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX.
While the FAA is further along than the EASA in its own review, it has not yet stated when it might give its own approval. FAA chief Steve Dickson flew the 737 MAX himself late last month and said he was “very comfortable” with the flight.