The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) said Wednesday it has allowed a Boeing 737 MAX to fly again over Europe, 22 months after the plane was grounded after two fatal accidents.
“After extensive analysis conducted by Easa, we have determined that the 737 MAX can safely return to service,” said Patrick Key, Easa Director, in a statement.
The agency added, “This evaluation was carried out with complete independence of Boeing or the (US) Federal Aviation Administration, without any economic or political pressure.”
The MAX was decommissioned in March 2019 after two accidents that together killed 346 people – the 2018 Lion Air disaster in Indonesia and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines the following year.
Investigators said the main cause of both accidents was a malfunction in the flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Enhancement System, or MCAS.
In order to prevent the aircraft from stopping while on board, the automated system forced the nose of the aircraft to land.
The results plunged Boeing into a crisis, with more than 650 orders for the 737 MAX canceled since last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered Boeing to revamp the aircraft and implement new training protocols for pilots, before finally agreeing to return the aircraft to service in November.