The Federal Aviation Administration has reinstated the Boeing 737 MAX’s operating certificate one year, eight months, and six days since it was rescinded on March 13th, 2019. The approval gives airlines the green light to prepare to return the type to service.
To say that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX has gone on longer than was first expected would be an understatement. Indeed, when the aircraft was first grounded, nobody expected that it would take so long to return to the skies. However, after a series of test flights in the late summer, significant progress had been made in the past months.
Boeing 737 MAX recertified
As of today, the Federal Aviation Administration has rescinded its grounding order of the Boeing 737. This means airlines will return the aircraft to service once they have actioned work specified in the relevant airworthiness directive and completed crew training.
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) November 18, 2020
Southwest Airlines recently said that it would train every single pilot on the 737 MAX before it returns the type to service. Other airlines will need to undertake pilot training and software updates before returning the kind to use.
Commenting on the ungrounding, David Calhoun, CEO of The Boeing Company said,
“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations. These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”
Meanwhile, FAA Administrator told CNBC that it would be ‘impossible’ for the same accident conditions to happen in the future. He added that he would put his family on the aircraft.
Regarding Boeing’s undelivered 737 MAX aircraft, the FAA will perform individual reviews of each aircraft in person. They will then grant the airworthiness certificate and export certificates (if necessary) for each aircraft.
What will happen in other countries?
Today’s news from the FAA is only applicable to United States airlines and N registered aircraft. The FAA recognizes that other civil aviation authorities may follow its lead. However, they are not obliged to do so. It is up to each country to unground the aircraft itself.
One would expect that Canada may be one of the next countries to unground the aircraft as it was one of the countries to test fly the aircraft before the FAA’s recertification, alongside Europe’s EASA. Brazil was also included in the Joint Operations Evaluation Board that met to review the results from test flights.
Huge backlog to be shifted
Boeing has continued to build 737 MAX airframes while the type has been grounded. However, deliveries of these aircraft have not been able to continue with these deliveries. As such, the airline now has around 450 grounded aircraft. Bloomberg previously reported that around a quarter of the delivery backlog is for aircraft with their orders canceled. These aircraft are known as whitetails.
Deliveries are likely to start with those going to the United States-based airlines. These will be entirely overseen by the FAA, with no further certification needed as long as they are operated domestically. However, when the first US airline returns to flying the aircraft is unknown.
Would you fly on the Boeing 737 MAX now that it has been recertified? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!