Boeing 737 Max set for FAA chief evaluation flight next week

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Boeing 737 Max
Credits: Boeing

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson is set to fly the Boeing 737 Max next week, marking the culmination of a long approval process for the 737 max to return to the skies.

The FAA has briefed lawmakers that Dixon and FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell will travel to Seattle, WA next week to undergo simulator training for the 737 max. Any observations will then be shared with FAA technical staff.

Dixon’s planned flight of the aircraft was promised to lawmakers ahead of any FAA approval. As a former commercial pilot, Dixon is optimally equipped to fly the aircraft and determine if there any serious flaws that have not been addressed.

The 737 Max’s troubled history has led to the plane being grounded since March 2019 following two cataclysmic crashes leaving 346 people dead. Boeing shares have risen 6% after the FAA’s announcement that the 737 Max could possibly return as a viable aircraft for commercial flights.

737 Max expected to receive regulatory approval from EASA

Alongside pending FAA approval, the 737 Max is slated to receive regulatory approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). In a recent statement, EASA executive director Patrick Ky said, “For the first time in a year and a half, I can say there’s an end in sight to work on the Max.”

A key component for EASA approval is the installation of a computerized third-sensor for all future versions of the plane, which Boeing has reportedly completed.

Receiving approval for the 737 Max would be a victory coup for Boeing, as the airline has struggled to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. If FAA approval isn’t granted in the end, it is reasonable to assume Boeing shares may fall in value to previous levels.

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