Industry Boeing announces possible 737 MAX return for January 2020

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has announced that it plans to put the 737 MAX aircraft back into commercial service until January 2020.

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Boeing said in a statement, that it plans to resume delivering 737 MAX aircraft to customers in the next month. The full return into service could be possible for January 2020. This however is subject to the approval of the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

The manufacturer is working closely with the FAA to re-certificate its 737 MAX aircraft. The world-wide fleet had to be grounded after two tragic crashes, which claimed 300 deaths. Since then, Boeing has worked on software updates.

Boeing wrote: "While the FAA and other regulatory authorities will determine the timing of certification and return to commercial service, Boeing continues to target FAA certification of the MAX flight control software updates during this quarter. Based on this schedule, it is possible that the resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, after certification, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order. In parallel, we are working towards final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the MAX returns to commercial service, and which we now expect to begin in January."

The manufacturer has to complete a five-point plan before the aircraft is ready to return into service.

Firstly, a multi-day FAA eCab Simulator Certification Session has to be completed successfully in order to ensure that the overall software system performs its intended function. Boeing already has this session completed. Then, Airline pilots have to undergo a multi-day simulator session to assess human factors and crew workload under various test conditions.

As third point, the FAA will perform a Certification Flight Test. FAA pilots will conduct these flights and will assess the airworthiness afterward. Fourthly, Boeing has to send a Final Submittal to the FAA after the certification flight. The manufacturer has to send final certification deliverables and artifacts to the FAA to support the software certification. Lastly, a Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB) will conduct a multi-day simulator session with global regulatory pilots.

Regarding the cooperation with the FAA, Boeing wrote: "At each step of this process Boeing has worked closely with the FAA and other regulators. We’re providing detailed documentation, had them fly in the simulators, and helped them understand our logic and the design for the new procedures, software and proposed training material to ensure that they are completely satisfied as to the airplane’s safety. The FAA and other regulatory authorities will ultimately determine return to service in each relevant jurisdiction. This may include a phased approach and timing may vary by jurisdiction."

Recently, Southwest Airlines had to announce that it plans the 737 MAX return into service for March 2020, as the airline needs the reliability in their operations and stability for their customers.

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