Max grounding likely to drag on as FAA refuses to move

US regulators say they will not be rushed and that they have the final say on when Boeing’s jet can return to service
Boeing, FAA, Aviation regulators, Federal Aviation Authority, 737 MAX, 737 Max grounding

Boeing’s 737 Max return to service is likely to be delayed – again – despite the planemaker’s hope to fly the jet in January.

US regulators have reiterated that the 737 Max will not be cleared for service until they have completed ‘numerous rounds rigorous testing’ and are completely satisfied.

The Max has been grounded since March following two crashes in which 346 people were killed.

This month, Boeing said that deliveries of the plane were likely to recommence in December and that it hoped the plane would be cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in January 2020.

But the FAA has pushed back and once again made it public that it will not be hurried into making a decision.

It issued a new statement that said: “The FAA has not completed its review of the 737 Max aircraft design changes and associated pilot training. The agency will not approve the aircraft for return to service until it has completed numerous rounds of rigorous testing.”

Boeing’s most recent progress report on the Max’s return, published on 11 November, said it is “possible that the resumption of Max deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, after certification, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order”.

Flexing its muscles just four days after Boeing’s statement, Steve Dickson, administrator at the FAA, issued an internal letter he sent to the FAA’s associate administrator, saying: “The FAA fully controls the approval process”.

It was revealed that the FAA will conduct the final approval of new Max jets rather than Boeing being allowed to handle routine signoffs before when the planes come out of the factory.

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