The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday cleared the way for Boeing to resume flying for the 737 Max, 20 months after it reached the ground level after fatal crashes on faulty software and a host of company and government failures Gone.
The decision ends a disastrous saga for Boeing, which predicted Loss of billions of dollars Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the global aviation that emerged from the Max crisis gave a devastating blow. The head of the agency, Stephen Dixon, Signed an order Grounding formally lifted on Wednesday.
He said, “The path that took us to this stage was long and fierce, but we said from the beginning that we will take time to get this right,”. In a video message. “I am 100 percent comfortable flying over it with my family.”
Max was set ablaze worldwide in March 2019, when the FAA joined regulators from dozens of other countries after accidents in Indonesia and killed all 346 people in Ethiopia.
Investigators have attributed a series of accidents, including engineering flaws, mismanagement and lack of federal oversight. The software at the root was known as the MCAS, which was designed to automatically push the nose of the aircraft under certain conditions and was blamed for both accidents.
in August, FAA determined A series of proposals by Boeing – including changes to MCAS, flight crew training and the design of the jet – include “effectively mitigating safety concerns”. Mr. Dickson, a former Delta Air Lines pilot, took control of a test flight in September, Saying that he liked what he saw.
At a news conference on Tuesday in anticipation of the FAA announcement, relatives of the victims on the second plane that crashed, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, questioned whether Boeing had done enough to address safety concerns with the aircraft.
“Aviation should not be a trial and error process; It should be about safety, “Na’vis Ryan, whose husband, Mick, boarded that flight on 10 March 2019.” If security is not prioritized, these companies should not be in business. “
In Letter to employeeS, Boeing’s chief executive, David Calhoun, welcomed the lifting of the ban, promising to intentionally move into service of the aircraft and “never forget” the victims of the accidents.
“We will hold on to the hard lessons learned from this chapter in our history and honor them to ensure that these accidents never happen again.”
Now that the FAA has lifted its grounding order, regulators around the world are expected to follow suit, although some may take their time to conduct their own in-depth reviews. The agency has worked with its counterparts in Canada, the European Union and Brazil on revised pilot training requirements for MAX.
Even in the United States, it may be months before Max starts carrying passengers again. The FAA must still approve pilot training procedures for every US airline operating at maximum, require aircraft to be updated, and airlines suffering from a huge drop in traffic during the epidemic with very little time to act quickly May take.
On an investor call last month, American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker predicted the carrier would not resume Max flights before the end of December when orders arrived in November.
United Airlines said on Wednesday that it expected Max Flight to start operating in the first quarter of next year after working 1,000 hours on each aircraft and “careful technical analysis”. Southwest Airlines said it did not expect to resume flights until the second quarter.
The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents about 60,000 pilots in North America, including those from United and Delta, said in a statement that it was still reviewing changes in training procedures, but proposed engineering fixes ” Will be sound and an effective component that leads to a safe return to service. “
The FAA decision removes some uncertainty as Boeing seeks to rehabilitate its reputation, start fulfilling long-term orders for Max and manage a sharp downturn in the business caused by the epidemic.
The company has lost more than 1,000 orders this year, mostly to Max, after accounting for orders that were either canceled or are likely to fall. Aircraft contracts typically allow buyers to cancel or reclaim conditions if delivery is delayed, adding to the urge for Boeing to resume aircraft. Nevertheless, the company’s backlog has more than 4,200 orders, most of them for Max.
The single-isle plane is the latest in Boeing’s 737 line, an industry workhorse widely used by airlines worldwide for short distances. For example, there are over 730 aircraft in the southwest, all of them versions of the 737, including 34 Max jets. The airline is high on orders, but its chief executive Gary Kelly said this week was in the Southwest No hurry to expand your fleet.
For decades, Boeing took an incremental approach to the 737, choosing to update the aircraft instead of imagining a new model. That strategy had benefits, including reducing the need for costly pilot return. But it is also Resulting in a patchwork design A workaround is sometimes required. When larger, more efficient engines were added to the aircraft, they caused maximum tilt during some maneuvers. The MCAS – the maneuver system to enhance features – was programmed to counter.
In both accidents, faulty sensors activated the software, sending the planes toward the ground as pilots struggled to pull them back. In a September report, Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said internal Boeing documents showed that concerns raised by staff about MCAS were dismissed or insufficiently addressed. A Boeing from that report and the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation accused the FAA of misleading them to avoid costly pilot training, reducing the complexity of the MCAS.
The House Committee also mistook the practice of an agency overseeing employees of companies outsourcing certain certification functions.
On Tuesday, the House passed a bipartisan bill aimed at changing FAA certification procedures and requiring an expert panel to review Boeing’s safety culture. The Air Line Pilots Association praised the law, saying it included much-needed changes to the certification process.
Boeing is nearing the end of a terrible year. The epidemic has provoked its airline customers, leading to layoffs throughout the industry. Boeing expects to start 2021 with a global workforce of around 130,000, down about 19 percent at the beginning of this year. other than this, Quality concerns have slowed delivery Its wide-body 787 Dreamliner.
Still, despite the Max Grounding and Pandemic twin crises, Hope. It can be difficult to cancel orders for Max; Some airlines, like Southwest, rely exclusively on Boeing aircraft, making it difficult to switch to another major manufacturer, Airbus; And offers maximum maintenance and savings on fuel that may be difficult for some, especially airlines to cut carbon footprint as pressure from corporate customers.
Boeing’s stock rose more than 40 percent this month, with investors encouraged by news from Pfizer and Moderna that the coronavirus vaccines under development appear to be highly effective.