Malaysia Approves Boeing 737 MAX’s Return To The Sky

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has recertified the Boeing 737 MAX over two years after it grounded the jet. The CAAM made its decision following a review of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing publications on the MAX’s return to service. The agency has also released a new safety directive for Malaysian and foreign MAX operators.

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Malaysia has lifted its ban on the MAX after more than two years. Photo: Getty Images

Malaysia ungrounds the 737 MAX

After grounding the Boeing 737 MAX in March 2019, Malaysia’s aviation authority has today approved the MAX’s return to the skies. The CAAM lifted its ban on the jet as it released a new safety directive, Safety Directive 01/2021, for both Malaysian and foreign operators of the MAX.

In the safety directive, the CAAM said,

“CAAM has reviewed and validated all applicable FAA and manufacturer publications
on the Boeing 737 MAX in relation to its return to service. Based on these and all
other related factors, CAAM has conducted a safety risk assessment (SRA) for the
return to service in Malaysia.”

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia issued a new safety directive today. Photo: Getty Images

The move comes around two and a half years after countries worldwide grounded the MAX in March 2019 after two fatal crashes. Despite several canceled orders in the immediate aftermath, flag carrier Malaysia Airlines retained its order for 25 MAX-8s. In May, the airline agreed with Boeing to defer delivery of its new jets until 2024.

Chester Voo, CAAM Chief Executive Officer, said,

“The Safety Directive 01/2021 revokes the previous Safety Directive issued on March 13th, 2019, that prohibits the operations of the Boeing 737 MAX-8 in Malaysia.”

A new safety directive for MAX operators

The 737 MAX is cleared for Malaysian airspace, so long as operators comply with all requirements laid out by the CAAM. The requirements are laid out in the CAAM’s Safety Directive 01/2021 issued today, which draws heavily on the work done by the FAA and Boeing to get the MAX recertified.

According to the directive,

“[Operators must] implement all applicable elements contained in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directive AD 2020-24-02, FAA Flight Standardization Board Report (FSBR) on pilot training and any applicable updates/directives issued by FAA from time to time.”

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737 MAX operators will need to comply with FAA directives before flying the MAX. Photo: Getty Images

Chester Voo also noted that the CAAM has closely followed the approval processes of other national aviation authorities, particularly the U.S FAA.

Voo added,

“CAAM recognized the work of the FAA as the State of Design and accepted the comprehensive return-to-service requirements set by the FAA for the Boeing 737 MAX.”

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Ethiopian MAX return ‘early next year’

Ethiopian Airlines, the operator of the second 737 MAX crash in March 2019, has reached an out-of-court settlement with Boeing and plans to return the MAX to the skies early next year.

Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, shared that he estimated that his company would be flying the plane by the end of this calendar year or by January 2022.

Ethiopian 737 MAX
Ethiopian Airlines has four MAX-8s in its fleet and many more on the way. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

He added that Ethiopian considers the MAX safe “beyond reasonable doubt” after the modifications made by Boeing. According to ch-aviation, Ethiopian Airlines has a current fleet of four MAXs with an additional 26 on order.

Are you happy to see the MAX returning to the skies around the globe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.