The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Thursday that Boeing has made progress in correcting defects in the 737 MAX series. Stephen Dixon, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, told several senior executives at U.S. carriers the same day that the regulator could approve the return of the MAX series by mid-year, several sources said.
“The FAA is committed to advancing thorough and prudent (certification) procedures while expressing satisfaction with the progress made by Boeing in recent weeks,” the FAA said in a statement earlier Thursday. ”
The FAA confirmed that no timetable had been set for the completion of the accreditation process.
“Safety is a top priority and the FAA will continue to work with other safety regulators to ensure that Boeing responds to all concerns known to involve the 737 MAX series.” ”
The MAX series is Boeing’s best-selling aircraft, with about 5,000 sold worldwide since it went into production, until two major crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 killed 346 people and exposed the aircraft’s “fatal” design flaws.
A source told Reuters that Federal Aviation Administration Director Dickerson called several U.S. carrier executives to tell them that it was “very conservative” to expect the mid-year resumption of the MAX series.
A Federal Aviation Administration official told Reuters that a re-entry permit could be issued by mid-year, provided That Boeing continues to submit a full and detailed revised report and that some unforeseen factors usually approve a delay.
American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines had planned to put the aircraft into operation in early June. The companies say they may delay the flight plan once Boeing does not get a permit to resume flights by mid-year. In general, carriers are required to train pilots, upgrade software, and maintain the necessary aircraft for at least 30 days after the re-entry permit is issued.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a no-fly order for the MAX series in March last year. Boeing officially suspended production of the aircraft in January. Boeing 22, expects mid-year to obtain a re-flight permit. New CEO Dave Calhoun said later in the day that production of the MAX series would resume this spring.
The FAA, which late last year sharply criticized Boeing for setting an unrealistic timetable for the resumption of flights to the MAX series, appeared intent on “forcing the FAA to issue a re-entry permit more quickly,” AFP reported.
Boeing expects to get a re-entry permit the following month in November.
Mr Calhoun acknowledged this week that Boeing had “gone through a difficult period” with the FAA in December over a timetable for re-flying. This time Boeing revised its expectations to give the FAA enough time so that “it won’t be ‘exploding’ as it was in December.”