The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief has announced that the regulator will not allow the Boeing 737 Max to fly again before the end of 2019.
Administrator Stephen Dickson said that the FAA will prohibit the flying of the Boeing 737 Max airplane for the rest of 2019. Dickson said he could not tell yet when the plane will receive approval to fly again.
However, he mentioned that there are 10 or 11 different steps in the certification process that needs to be accomplished before it receives approval. He said: “If you do the math, it’s going to extend into 2020.”
When asked if it could happen in the first two months of 2020, he declined to specify a target date. He pointed out: “If I had that kind of a crystal ball I would certainly be able to share it. But it’s very important that our team works very closely with the international authorities that have been working with us and with the Boeing team to do this right.”
In his prepared testimony for the House Transportation Committee, he said: “I have directed FAA employees to take whatever time is needed to do that work,” pertaining to the certification process.
The Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded globally in March following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. This has cost Boeing billions of dollars and the company is insisting on having the plane approved to fly again in the US by the end of the year and to start commercial service as soon as January.
In response to Dickson’s statement, Boeing said that “we continue to work closely with the FAA and global regulators towards certification and the safe return to service of the Max.”
According to the three US airlines that own the planes, namely Southwest, American and United, they will not be including the Max planes on their flight schedules until at least March.