Boeing expects MAX return in January 2020
Boeing today released a statement that it is possible for deliveries of the grounded 737 MAX aircraft to resume to airline customers in December 2019. These deliveries would begin after new certification of the airplane, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order.
Aviation authorities across the world suspended the 737 MAX from commercial operation in their airspace (Canada March 13) following the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 10, tying it an earlier October 2018 fatal accident involving a MAX 8 (flight JT610) operated by Lion Air.
In releasing its November 11 statement about the resumption of customer deliveries, Boeing notes the FAA and other regulatory authorities will determine the timing of certification and return to commercial service. The entry into service will largely revolve around the FAA certification of MAX flight control software updates, which Boeing expects to be completed during the current quarter. Boeing is basing its resumption of 737 MAX deliveries on this schedule and the work already completed with authorities – “With the rigorous scrutiny being applied, we are confident the MAX will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”
Boeing explains it is working in parallel toward final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the MAX returns to commercial service. The company states, again based on the schedule, that the aircraft’s return will being in in January. Several airlines using the aircraft have removed the airplane from their schedules until January and February. Air Canada in October 2019 adjusted its schedule to remove the aircraft until at least February 14, 2020.
Boeing explains there are five key milestones it must complete with the FAA before returning the 737 MAX to service, including one that has been completed:
• FAA eCab Simulator Certification Session: A multi-day eCab simulator evaluation with the FAA to ensure the overall software system performs its intended function, both normally and in the presence of system failures. COMPLETED
• FAA Line Pilots Crew Workload Evaluation: A separate, multi-day simulator session with airline pilots to assess human factors and crew workload under various test conditions.
• FAA Certification Flight Test: FAA pilots will conduct a certification flight(s) of the final updated software.
• Boeing Final Submittal to the FAA: After completion of the FAA certification flight, Boeing will submit the final certification deliverables and artifacts to the FAA to support software certification.
• Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB) Simulator Training Evaluation: The Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB), a multi-regulatory body, conducts a multi-day simulator session with global regulatory pilots to validate training requirements. Following the simulator session, the Flight Standardization Board will release a report for a public comment period, followed by final approval of the training.