FAA Expected To Certify 737 MAX In Coming Weeks Says Boeing

Boeing expects the 737 MAX to be recertified by the FAA in the coming weeks according to Reuters. As a result of the announcement, Boeing’s shares experienced a jump of five percent.

Southwest 737 MAX
Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest 737 MAX customer. Photo: Southwest Airlines

The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for around eight months. The action was taken as a result of a second fatal accident involving a relatively new aircraft in the space of half a year. While the grounding of the aircraft was initially expected to be relatively short, it has been extended time and time again. In fact, Southwest Airlines, the type’s largest operator, is now expecting the aircraft to return to service in March of 2020. This is practically a year after it was grounded.

Why was the Boeing 737 MAX grounded?

The Boeing 737 was grounded after two of the aircraft crashed within the space of half a year. Despite being relatively new aircraft, in both accidents, there were no survivors.

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The FAA was initially hesitant in grounding the Boeing 737 MAX claiming something along the lines that it hadn’t received data that the aircraft was unsafe. However, other national aviation bodies, as well as airlines, began to ground the aircraft. Before too long, only US airlines were left flying the aircraft domestically. However, President Donald Trump stepped in soon afterward, ordering that all 737 MAX aircraft be grounded.

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

Recertification

The road to recertifying the Boeing 737 MAX has certainly been a long one, as the aircraft has been grounded for eight months so far. Boeing is confident that once the aircraft is recertified, it will be “one of the safest aircraft ever to fly”.

Boeing is targeting the recertification of the 737 MAX by the end of the year. In other words, within the next seven weeks. Receiving this, Boeing says, would allow to company to resume deliveries in December. Currently, Boeing has commandeered a car park in order to store additional 737 MAX aircraft. As a result, Boeing currently expects the 737 MAX to return to commercial service in January of 2020.

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Ryanair
Ryanair was expecting its first 737 MAX aircraft back in April. Photo: Boeing

Boeing says that it still has five hurdles to jump before the aircraft is recertified. These are:

  • A multi-day simulator session with the FAA (this has already been ticked off).
  • A workload evaluation of pilots in the Boeing 737 MAX simulator.
  • FAA certification test flights.
  • Boeing will submit the final software to the FAA.
  • Finally, more simulator work is required.

Last week we revealed that United Airlines’ CEO will be on his company’s first 737 MAX flight, while he will let passengers change from the Boeing 737 MAX for free.

Do you think the aircraft will be relaunched this year! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Andrew Boydston

The Max has a refined path to customer flight. The stepping stones are already a works in progress. It is whether other governing aviation bodies will follow the FAA lead. This has not been reported on how other aviation governance is progressing for the Max. I assume once the FAA drops its other shoe and lets the Max fly, the “others” will quickly follow suit as Boeing is simultaneously conducting compliance with everybody at the table. No governing aviation agency wants a Max mishap without doing its due diligence.

Peter

The FAA may be consulting with other regulatory agencies abroad, but the EASA and the authorities in Canada said months ago that they’ll do their own independent review. In the case of the CAAC in China, I wouldn’t bet on a swift re-certification at all.

Interesting that Boeing is expecting this early re-certification, whereas American Airlines and Southwest are only expecting a return to service (in their fleets) in March next year. This latest Boeing “prognosis” was perhaps a ploy by Boeing (mis)management to influence the stock price.

Peter

You say that “The Max has a refined path to customer flight”. I fail to see how anyone could validly use the word “refined” to describe the three-ring circus of backtracking and fudging that we’ve been subjected to for the past few months. Let’s just look at some of the highlights of this “refined” path: – First it was going to be just a simple re-writing of a bit of MCAS software, to make it less aggressive. – Then we were told that the processing power on the flight computer was inadequate to deal with certain situations. – Next we… Read more »

Frank

You left out the part about Boeing trying to slide inadequate docs past the FAA. As well, Boeing wants to recertify the aircraft without specific pilot training details worked out – says the FAA can do that later…

JackFlash

With AoA tied vote, they will display buttons “repeat”, “abort”, “ignore”. Always fixes the issue.
Regarding “inadequate” CPU processing power, it experienced CPU overrun, caused most likely by runaway process, hence revising architecture. All scary stuff.

Dennis

I wonder how many Boeing shares the certification team at FAA received to get to this stage

Frank

Stock options, stock option

Kevin

Is it just me or does it not seem just a wee bit arrogant on the part of Boeing to be putting out press releases that predict when the Max will be allowed to fly by the FAA. It strikes me as if Boeing is saying “Hey we have the FAA in our pocket and this is how it’s going to go.” It’s this coziness between Boeing and the FAA that I find disturbing and not at all reassuring that the Max is in fact safe.

Peter

The Boeing stock price went up sharply yesterday. Does that provide any clarification? 😉

Kevin

Jawboning. It indeed makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.

Shapes

boing are planning to deliver these planes without the fix?

Shapes

That wasn’t a silly question, from what I can work out that’s exactly what boing were trying to do.

Moaz Abid

I believe in the 737, it has been around for more than 60 years and in my opinion I think it shtould be given a second chance to prove itself. Boeing can’t quit this now, not after having more than 5000 orders and airlines’ growth depending on them. Airlines like Flydubai, Southwest, Ryanair,Turkish airlines etc. Look at Flydubai right now. They are suffering losses because of the groundings, same with Southwest, Ryanair. Everyone makes mistakes. But we need to learn from those mistakes and improve them.

Mike

Seriously? Everbody makes mistakes? This is a 100 year old company that have been at the forefront of aircraft design for years. So your saying that they should be allowed to just move on and gloss over the fact that nearly 400 people are dead just because someone/body made a mistake? Im sure that brings alot of comfort to the familys of the people that lost there lives aboard those doomed planes. The 737 has had its day, its done. Its been flogged and stretched beyond its original design limitations in an attempt to maximise profits. Its a half arsed… Read more »

aye

I think the problems that we see today in Boeing 737 Max came from flaw safety check by Boeing and FAA. Boeing should knew all these and fixed them before flying 737 Max.

It is sad to say the CEO put profit before safety and he destroy the Boeing reputation.

I am also surprising that he has not been fired since these problem come out and see no one to be blame inside Boeing.

It is really sad.

Phil

What happened with Boeing was preceded by the same ideology at Douglas. When Boeing purchased Douglas, they gave Douglas execs high ranking positions which resulted in changes to Boeing’s previous “safety first” policies. Those executives were responsible for the DC-10 buried flaws which killed Douglas. Now they are on the same track with Boeing. They don’t care as long as they get their yearly bonuses until Boeing goes out of business. Boeing’s quality control has gone down and they fire honest employees that report quality control issues. I used to say: “If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going.” That ideology… Read more »