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  • Chibuzo Ofulue

Will the MAX ever fly again?

FAA to reveal Boeing 737 MAX progress.

According to Airliner World, the new chief of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Steve Dickson, a former Delta Air Lines executive, was set to outline the progress on returning the Boeing 737 MAX to flying status to a meeting of international regulators.

The private briefing was due to take place on the eve of the United Nations aviation assembly in Montreal (held between the 24th of September and the 4th of October) and involve representatives from up to 50 nations discussing Boeing's proposed software fixes and new pilot training. Dickson downplayed the chances of an agreement to move forward and return the aircraft type to service, but explained it would "provide regulators with the latest information". The 737 MAX has been grounded globally since the 13th of March following two fatal accidents involving aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air.

Boeing has been working on updating flight control software suspected to be a fault in both accidents and says it has completed flight testing of modifications. The US manufacturer is now hoping the FAA will re-certify the type enabling it to return to service before the end of this year. Airlines are urging regulators to co-ordinate their responses to the software changes to avoid duplication and differing legislation that could jeopardise safety. Some nations have already said they will undertake their own independent evaluation before restoring the aircraft's type certificate and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been carrying out its own examination. It recently said it still had concerns over the integrity of the aircraft's angle of attack system.

The FAA revealed that it is continuing its review of the proposed software update and is waiting for documentation from Boeing detailing the flight's system's architecture and the proposed changes. The agency is also waiting for inputs from other regulators before undertaking a certification test flight, the next major hurdle before granting final approval for the 737 MAX to return to flying operations.