US safety regulators have cleared Boeing’s 737 Max plane to fly again, lifting grounding orders put in place in March 2019 after two deadly crashes that killed 346 people. The plane which is the best-selling jet in Boeing’s (BA) fleet has a stamp of approval to fly.
The move marks a key milestone for the firm, which was plunged into crisis by the tragedies and investigations that blamed it for the accidents more so with its financial woes deepening this year as air travel dropped due to the virus.
The approval comes roughly a year after Boeing had first hoped but too soon for many of the victims’ families. Passengers who don’t to fly on a 737 Max once they resume flights can book away from a 737 Max flight without penalty. ” If a customer doesn’t want to fly on the 737 Max, they won’t have to,” said a letter from American Airline executives to the carrier’s employees on Wednesday.
The US is the first to reverse the grounding orders, which hit the firm around the world in March 2019. European aviation officials have said they are close to making a similar decision.
Existing aircraft will need to be modified before going back into service, with changes to their software and wiring. Pilots will also need new training.
Some of the family members of those who died in the crashes have objected to the Max’s return to service. They say Boeing made mistakes in its design, the newest version of a long-serving plane, which made their version dangerous, and that the FAA erred in approving the original version and recertifying it to fly now.
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