Following a global grounding extending beyond a year, after test flights conducted in September, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is performing final document reviews ahead of a draft airworthiness directive it expects to issue next month, marking the safe return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX.
What has the EASA said?
Europe’s top aviation regulator has confirmed they are satisfied that changes to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have made the plane safe enough to return to the region’s skies before 2020 is out, even though a further upgrade dubbed as necessary by the agency won’t be ready for up to two years.
After test flights conducted in September, EASA is performing final document reviews ahead of a draft airworthiness directive it expects to issue next month, said Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. This means the aircraft will receive recertification of airworthiness allowing airlines to resume operations.
Following the draft directive will be four weeks of public comment. The solution is a synthetic sensor that would simplify the job of pilots when one or both of the mechanical angle-of-attack sensors on the MAX fails. The device, which monitors whether a plane is pointed up or down relative to the oncoming air, malfunctioned in both crashes — the first off the coast of Indonesia in October 2018 and the second one, five months later, in Ethiopia.
“Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us. What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”
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