US regulators expect Boeing’s 737 Max to make a key certification flight in the coming weeks despite a new software flaw being discovered on the grounded jet.
The newly discovered issue is reportedly to do with an indicator light associated with the stabiliser trim system that illuminated incorrectly during testing.
Speaking at an aviation event in London, Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) chief Steve Dickson said that although the issue would need to be fixed before the Max’s certification flight, he does not expect it “will be a significant delay”.
Boeing’s Max has been grounded since March 2019 after two crashed killed 346 people. The US planemaker said last month that it expects the jet to return to service by ‘mid-2020’.
Boeing is reportedly working to fix the lighting issue and said in a statement that the glitch will not impact on its mid-2020 estimate for the Max’s return.
The 737 Max’s certification flight will be among the final milestones in the plane’s return to service.
Mr Dickson told reporters that the flight may take place in the next few weeks, depending on how quickly Boeing can resolve the new software problem.
He has consistently cautioned against providing a specific timeframe for the Max’s return, but said at the event that international regulators were likely to agree on the required fixes to the plane.
While the FAA thinks the Max could be certified before Boeing’s mid-2020 estimate, airlines have dropped the plane from their schedules until early-summer and some remain sceptical of Boeing’s estimate.