The European Union’s top aviation regulator told Bloomberg on Friday that he believes plane-manufacturing company Boeing has made enough...
The European Union’s top aviation regulator told Bloomberg on Friday that he believes plane-manufacturing company Boeing has made enough safety changes to the 737 Max to allow the jet to fly again in the region by the end of 2020.
Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), made the prognosis even as additional upgrades demanded by his agency are predicted to take an additional two years to complete.
Ky told Bloomberg that the development of a “synthetic sensor” to add redundancy will take 20 to 24 months. The addition will eventually be required on the larger Max 10 before its expected 2022 debut, as well as added onto other versions.
“Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us,” Ky told Bloomberg. “What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”
These remarks mark the strongest support from a major aviation regulator to put the 737 Max jets back in the sky by the end of the year.
The jet was grounded in March 2019 following two accidents that resulted in 346 deaths and a financial crisis for the aviation manufacturer.
Ky added on Friday that the EASA is performing final document reviews of September 737 Max safety tests and that a draft directive measuring the plane’s ability for a return to flight will be issued next month.
This follows reports last week that Boeing is in the midst of selling 737 Max jets to Alaska Airlines, the latest in a series of the company’s negotiations as the company plans the return of the jet.
In August, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a 36-page report on required changes and training needed before the 737 Max jets can begin flying again.
Last month, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee published a report following an 18-month investigation into Boeing and the FAA, saying there were “repeated and serious failures by both” throughout “the 737 Max’s design process.”
The financial strain caused by the grounding of the 737 Max led Boeing to announce in May that it would lay off 6,770 workers across its U.S. facilities and had “several thousand” more cuts planned in the coming months.