22 months have passed since the Boeing 737 MAX was banned from flying without the European sky. The consequence of two fatal accidents that had led the authorities to immobilize the American plane against the ground. But this Wednesday, January 27, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that it authorized the return in flight of the aircraft.
“After a thorough analysis by EASA, we determined that 737 MAX can resume service safely. This assessment was carried out independently of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration (the US FAA, editor’s note) and without any economic or political pressure, ”says EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky, quoted in a statement from press.
In October 2018, a model of the Lion Air in Indonesia crashed and killed 189 people. And a few months later, an Ethiopian Airlines flight had an accident, killing 157 people in Ethiopia in March 2019. Two tragedies after which Boring 737 MAX banned from flying.
Changes to be made
During the two accidents, it was after receiving erroneous information from one of the two AOA angle of attack probes, indicating that the aircraft was stalled, that the flight control software, MCAS, had escaped despite the pilots’ efforts to defuse and caused the plane to tilt. The aircraft must undergo a modification of the MCAS software. Other software must also be changed and some cables must be repositioned and pilots will have to undergo retraining, requires EASA.
“We are convinced that the aircraft is safe, which is the prerequisite for our agreement. But we will continue to closely monitor the 737 MAX operations when the aircraft returns to service,” explains Patrick Ky. “At our insistence, Boeing is also committed to working to further improve the aircraft in the medium term, in order to achieve an even higher level of safety,” he added.
Since November 18, the Boeing had received permission to fly through the skies from the US FAA, the primary certification body for a US aircraft.
A breath of fresh air for Boeing
Clearance to fly in Canada was granted last week. The decision of the Chinese authorities, a country in which many Boeing 737 Max have been sold, is yet to be known. It is pending for the moment.
The authorization to fly in Europe for the MAX means that Boeing, stunned by the setbacks of the last generation of its mid-range and by the Covid-19 crisis, will be able to resume its deliveries to the European continent.
Since it entered service, 67 units of the aircraft have been delivered to European customers, including 19 Norwegian Air Shuttles and 12 to Turkish Airlines. A total of 723 devices were ordered by 14 European customers – not French –, of which 210 remain to be delivered to Ryanair, 92 to Norwegian Air Shuttle and 63 to Turkish Airlines.
Boeing, officially accused in early January of misleading US authorities during the 737 MAX approval process, admitted responsibility and agreed to pay more than $ 2.5 billion to settle certain lawsuits.