Boeing has reportedly gained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to commence test flights of Boeing 737 Max. This will demonstrate its safety with new flight control software.
The Max flights were grounded in March 2019 following the fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which claimed the lives of 346 people. The impact of this crisis took a toll on the company, including compensation paid to the airlines and victims. The company’s chief executive was removed, and several questions were raised regarding the building and approval of the Max. These deadly crashes were partly due to the anti-stall software known as MCAS that pushed the nose of the planes automatically downward.
In January, the company reported that the costs related to the grounding would surpass $18 billion. The 3 carriers in the U.S. that operate the Max, namely United Airlines, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, have canceled multiple flights in previous months.
The certification test flights are likely to take place in Seattle where the planes were manufactured, with top Boeing test pilots on board. The testing will reportedly take several days, which will include emergency procedures and flight maneuvers to analyze whether the planes meet the certification standards of the F.A.A.
The airline will take a few more months to be deemed functional if the test flights are successful. Further problems identified by the F.A.A. may lead the aerospace company to make additional changes. F.A.A. officials will prepare a report in over a week with details on the findings. Additionally, Boeing will submit a material package to the agency with the new software on how it was tested and designed.
The F.A.A. and other experts will review the submission. The agency will then issue orders for the updated software installation and enable the Max to fly again. The company had previously revealed that the software fix was delayed due to some problems.
Boeing has recorded net order decline by around 300 jets due to the halt of flights services to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.