US-Europe disagreement on 737 Max fix threatens to frustrate jet’s return

EASA wants wiring relocated for safety reasons, while the FAA does not
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The Boeing Company

Disagreements between US and European regulators on whether to relocate electrical wiring on Boeing’s 737 Max could frustrate the grounded jet’s return to service, according to reports.

Boeing said recently that it estimates its grounded Max will make its return to service in ‘mid-2020’.

But some members of the industry have said they are sceptical that the plane will be cleared to fly by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) by the summer.

Matters have been further complicated now after technicians at EASA said certain electrical wires on the plane had to be moved for safety reasons, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

But both the FAA and Boeing believe relocating the wiring is unnecessary, according to the WSJ report. The manufacturer has not yet made a formal recommendation but the US regulator expects to make a decision in the coming weeks, according to the report.

The disagreement between regulators has reportedly caused the FAA to delay a key certification flight.

Last week, the UAE’s regulator, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), expressed its doubt over Boeing’s estimate that the 737 Max will return to service in mid-2020.

Saif Al Sowaidi, director general of the UAE's aviation regulator, told reporters at a conference that was “not very optimistic” about the Max making its return by mid-2020.

He said: “So far we keep hearing from Boeing that the situation may need some more time. I’m hoping it will be the middle of the year but I’m not expecting [it].”

A spokesperson for Boeing said that the planemaker is co-operating with international regulators on a thorough certification process.

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