Boeing 737 MAX Expected To Fly Again In Europe By Feb 2020

Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX is now expected to start flying again in Europe sometime in the first quarter. The head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Patrick Ky said on Monday that the grounded Boeing 737 MAX could be back in the air by February 2020.

Boeing 737 MAX takeoff
EASA expects the MAX to be back in early 2020. Photo: Boeing

While approval from the European aviation authority could come as early as January, some national aviation bodies and the airlines themselves may delay the resumption of commercial flights by a further two months, according to Ky.

After EASA gives the MAX the green light there could be further delays

International news organization Reuters is reporting the EASA boss as saying:

“If there are training requirements (and) coordination to be done with, the EU member states to make sure everyone does the same thing at the same time, this will take a bit of time. That’s why I’m saying the first quarter of 2020.”

Ryanair
Ryanair is one of Boeing’s biggest customers. Photo: Boeing

After having made software changes to the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people, Boeing has said it wants the MAX back in service by the end of 2019.

Besides damaging Boeing’s reputation and hitting the Seattle plane maker’s share price, the grounding of the MAX has hurt several airlines in a big way. Low-cost Irish airline Ryanair, one of Boeing’s biggest customers, said yesterday that it now expects delays with 737 MAX deliveries to hamper its growth in 2020.

European experts visited Rockwell Collins

The United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), the main body in charge of vetting the changes Boeing has made to the MAX, is currently doing tests on the aircraft’s MCAS software fix. EASA is also doing its own tests on the MAX fix that will include simulator testing and actual flights before permitting the plane to fly again in European airspace.

boeing-737-max
EASA is doing simulator tests in November. Photo: Boeing

With regards to the European testing of the MAX, experts traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week to visit Rockwell Collins and study the changes the aerospace company has made with Boeing vis-à-vis the MAX flight control software. While speaking on the sidelines of the agency’s annual safety conference in Helsinki on Monday, Frenchman Ky said:

“There has been a lot of work done on the design of the software.” But he added: “We think there is still some work to be done.”

When asked for a comment by Reuters, both Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe and a representative from the FAA declined to comment.

The EASA hopes to start MAX flight tests in December

When Ky was asked if EASA would require that 737 MAX pilots undergo further simulator training, he would not elaborate on it knowing that should that be EASA’s decision it would delay the MAX return and put a further financial burden on the airlines.

boeing-737-max
EASA to start MAX flight tests in December. Photo: Boeing

This decision can only be made once EASA has completed all their tests, he said. “It’s really at the end of the process because it’s much more operational.”

EASA is working on completing its software review by the end of this month (November) followed by flight tests in December.

When all the final testing is done and the FAA allows the MAX to fly would you feel better about getting on the plane knowing that the Europeans have done their tests? Please let us know in the comments.

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Peter

Quoting from the article above:
“When Ky was asked if EASA would require that 737 MAX pilots undergo further simulator training, he would not elaborate on it knowing that should that be EASA’s decision it would delay the MAX return and put a further financial burden on the airlines.”

I VERY much hope that EASA’s decision as to whether or not to require further simulator training for pilots will NOT be influenced by the “further financial burden” that this would place on airlines. It’s not even a year since the grounding began and finances are (potentially) being put ahead of safety…AGAIN?

Barbara Seced

Ky said that the decision would be based on pilots’ input after flights scheduled in December.

Peter

I wonder will European airlines with the MAX experience a slump in passenger numbers when the plane is re-introduced? I’ve heard quite a lot of ordinary people (not aviation enthusiasts) say they don’t want anything to do with the MAX. From a personal point of view, I will actively avoid Ryanair when they start flying the MAX, and I’ll keep avoiding them for a period of at least 2 years…unless they are prepared to pre-indicate which routes will be kept “MAX-free” (which, of course, they won’t). Luckily, I have three other alternative airlines on the routes I fly, and they… Read more »

OGD

@Peter I would absolutely avoid airlines operating the Max. But if they let me know what type of aircraft operating the flight I wish to make a booking for, I could consider using them. And then if there is a change of aircraft due to technical issues, let say from a 737NG -800 to a 737-Max would I then be able to ask for a money back return and not embark the substitute aircraft? Hopefully this will not happen and hopefully not with my luggage already transferred to the new aircraft. This is a scenario spinning in my head if… Read more »

Brian Levy

you you’e quite willing to ignore Airbus flaws, crashes, etc. How very European of you…

Karl

Yeah, but those failures (like all other boeing failures) have been fixed. If this problems is related to the design of the plane I am happy to wait a while before boarding MAX.

Barbara Seced

It’s not an Airbus or a Boeing matter. This is stupidly polarized answer. It’s about a program, not a manufacturer.

Michael

EASA does not have the final fix. Did not fly a single test flights. However, they do know that the plane will be OKayed in February. How could they possibly know?

Barbara Seced

They don’t. The full interview never says February.

Shapes

It was clear from the email asking senators not to mention the kc-46 that boing is still playing its underhand games.

Barbara Seced

Mark, where does it specifically say February?

JFP

EASA will never re-certify the MAX. It is a financial decision. Too many EU jobs at stake.