Boeing 737 MAX to return to service in the US only, perhaps


Seattle, Washington - Almost six months after the grounding of its 737 MAX jets, Boeing is now near to get its troubled aircraft recertified.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and International regulators such as EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) will have the final say as to when the aircraft will be allowed to fly again.

But discrepancies between the FAA and global regulators over recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX could prolong the aircraft's return to the service beyond 2019.

Boeing has finished the fixes to the anti-stall system of the aircraft known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System). The system has been linked by investigators to two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which killed 347 people.

The manufacturer and the FAA expect to start test flights early October within the scope of recertifying the system.

Also read: FAA to begin flight tests with the 737 MAX in October

Boeing has earlier stated that it was planning to submit the updated system to the FAA for review around September with approval expected in the following month.

Our best current estimate continues to be a return to service of the MAX that begins early in the fourth quarter,

a Boeing spokesperson said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and other US regulators have said that there is no fixed timeframe for the 737MAX's return to operation.

The timeframe for the approval of the 737 MAX is already much later than Boeing had previously expected. The U.S. aircraft manufacturer was ready to submit its system upgrades for endorsement before the FAA's test pilots discovered a new problem during simulator flights that must be addressed.

The new issue has left the foreign regulators more cautious about the recertification of the aircraft. Boeing's current outlook for the fourth quarter would be the company's best estimate as there are discords between the FAA and international regulators.

During a presentation at the European Parliament, European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Executive Director Patrick Ky noted that there was still no appropriate response to issues with the integrity of the aircraft's Angle of Attack (AOA) system.

A representative from Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency previously said Boeing was not able to respond to the global regulators' specific questions on modifications made to the 737 MAX flight control system at an August meeting.

The FAA wants to move quickly to recertify the aircraft and wants the other civil aviation bodies to follow it.

But another friction subject between the US regulator and others is the training of the pilots.

US officials are suspicious for the need for flight simulator training for the 737 MAX pilots while European and Canadian bodies see it necessary.

Gus Kelly, the CEO of the world's one of the largest aircraft lessors, told Bloomberg TV today that the approval of the 737 MAXs by one regulator is not enough. The aircraft must be approved by other regulators as well such as EASA, Transport Canada and CAAC of China to operate the aircraft globally.

Under these circumstances, global airline operators should consider the possibility that the 737 MAXs would be allowed to operate in the United States and a few countries only at first until discrepancies are resolved between the FAA and major global civil aviation regulators.