Boeing 737 Max Allowed by FAA to Fly Again After 20 Months

The US Federal Aviation Administration has allowed the Boeing 737 Max to fly once again after almost two years of being grounded.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration has allowed Boeing 737 Max to fly once again after almost two years. The agency announced the clearance it gave to the grounded aircraft on Wednesday.

Free to Fly Again

This week, FAA administrator Steve Dickson said that the department had allowed the Boeing 737 Max to carry passengers. The decision comes after the aircraft stayed on the ground for 20 months. Although, the decision does not mean to let the troubled aircraft to fly immediately. Boeing still has several things to do before sending its fleet to the airlines. It includes software updates and further training for the pilots.

The New York Times reported that the first airline to carry passengers with the 737 Max would be American Airlines. The airline will utilize the fleet starting December 29 for local flights. Meanwhile, United Airlines said that they could use the Max in 2021’s first quarter. But they have to analyze every aircraft. Also, Southwest Airlines had previously said it could fly the 737 Max in the second quarter of next year.

However, the FAA’s decision coincided with the struggling aviation industry in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Methodological Safety Review Process’

In a news release, the FAA said that the agency conducted “a comprehensive and methodological safety review process” that spanned 20 months. The FAA also included a 99-page document summarizing the technical details of its review of the 737 Max. Moreover, the agency noted that they have worked with international aviation safety regulators for this instance. 

During a press briefing, the FAA Administrator noted the work that had gone to investigate the aircraft. Dickson said that more than 40 employees of the department had spent tens of thousands of hours working on the 737 Max. He noted that the same accidents couldn’t reoccur with the 737 Max’s design changes.

Meanwhile, Boeing chief executive David Calhoun stated: “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.”

Crashed Planes

Boeing 737 Max encountered two fatal crashes with only several months in between, which caused the ban for them to fly in March 2019. Both the crashes caused the lives of 346 passengers and crew members. Faulty sensors were said to cause the two tragic events. 

In a Times article, several relatives of the victims of one of the planes held a conference before the FAA’s Wednesday announcement. On Tuesday, the victims’ families disputed the decision. “If safety is not prioritized, then these companies should not be in business,” Naoise Ryan, a victim’s family, said, noting aviation should not be “a trial-and-error process.”

Phillip Malone

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