In January, Europe is expected to lift its flight ban on the Boeing 737 MAX passenger jetliner after U.S. authorities ended a 20-month grounding last week caused by two deadly accidents.
In remarks aired on Saturday, the president of the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said that the 737 MAX was fit to operate following revisions to the configuration of the plane that crashed twice in five months in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 passengers.
Executive Director Patrick Ky told the Paris Air Forum, an online aviation conference organised by La Tribune, “We wanted to conduct a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we conducted our own checks and flight tests.”
We are assured from all these reports that the 737 MAX will return to service. We have begun to put all the steps in place, he said.
Since the approval of the FAA, EASA’s decision is seen as the most significant achievement since it also carries considerable weight in the industry as the watchdog accountable for Airbus.
Officials have stated that the request for an EASA Directive to end grounding in Europe will be released next week, followed by a 30-day consultation period. That will lead to an ungrounding decision in January after finishing touches.
Pilot preparation and the length of time it takes for airlines to update software and carry out other measures required by EASA depend on how long it takes for flights to resume in Europe. Commercial flights are expected to resume in the United States on Dec. 29, just under six weeks after the FAA order was issued on Nov. 18.
EASA serves the 27 members of the European Union, plus four additional countries, including Norway, which has 92 aircraft on order. It currently also represents the United Kingdom, which quit the EU bloc in January.