European Regulator Reveals 737 MAX Recertification Plans

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last week revealed its test flight schedule for recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The organisation says it has been working “in close cooperation” with the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, to return the embattled aircraft to service “as soon as possible, but only once it is convinced it is safe,” it said in a statement.

The statement continued: “While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, EASA judges the overall maturity of the re-design process is now sufficient to proceed to flight tests. These are a prerequisite for the European agency to approve the aircraft’s new design.”

737 MAX
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide on March 18, 2019. Boeing

EASA says all parties have now reached an agreement that it will conduct flight tests in Vancouver, Canada during the week commencing September 7, 2020.

Simulator tests are set to take place starting tomorrow (September 1) at London/Gatwick.

EASA is the latest international aviation safety regulator to announce its plans to recertify the aircraft. Earlier in August, Canadian authorities revealed similar proposals.

The inspection forms part of a global effort to return the aircraft to service following a worldwide grounding initiated in March last year after the type was involved in two fatal crashes.

Ryanair MAX
Ryanair currently has 20 examples in its fleet and many more on order. Boeing

The jet’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – which is a piece of technology designed to mimic pitching behaviour similar to previous generations of 737 – was found in preliminary reports to be a contributing factor in both crashes. 

Speaking to the Seattle Times in June, Janet Northcote, head of communications at the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said that MCAS “absolutely needs to be fixed for the plane to be recertified as airworthy”.

Other foreign aviation regulators have been scrutinising the suggested software and training modifications for the MAX, which it’s thought will now return to service during 2021.