The Boeing 737 Max is set to fly soon as it has received clearance by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The popular single-aisle aircraft was grounded in March 2019 following two deadly crashes that claimed the lives of 346 people due to issues with its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).
The FAA states that it had worked diligently to identify and address the safety issues that played a role in the crash of Lion Air JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines ET302. They added that they have worked closely with its foreign counterparts on every aspect of the return to service. Even the FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson, have undergone training and had flown the aircraft for about 2 hours.
According to the FAA Administrator, he had pledged to fly the aircraft and promised that he won’t unground it until he is 100% comfortable that the aircraft is safe. Based on all activities that have been undertaken in the past 20 months including his personal experience flying the aircraft, he said that he’s 100% comfortable with his family flying on the 737 Max.
Before the aircraft can resume commercial flights, the FAA must approve the 737 Max pilot training program for each US airline that operate the aircraft. FAA says it will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness of all new 737 Max manufactured since the grounding orders were issued.
Even after the grounding, Boeing had continued to manufacture the aircraft until it stopped production in December 2019. Production for the 737 Max had resumed in May 2020 with reduced output.
Interestingly, Malindo Air is the launch customer for the Boeing 737 Max 8. During the time, the airline was supposed to be rebranded to Batik Malaysia. The first Max aircraft with the registration 9M-LRC as shown above has been transferred to Lion Air. Malindo Air used to have 3 aircrafts from the 737 Max series and they have confirmed that they no longer operate the aircraft in their fleet.
Malaysia Airlines had placed an order for 25 737 Max in 2016 but the order was suspended in January 2020. Following the two deadly crashes, Malaysia joins other countries in banning the aircraft from its airspace.