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737 Max

Boeing Says They’ve Fixed the 737 MAX, But Who Will Fly It?

Boeing Says They’ve Fixed the 737 MAX, But Who Will Fly It?
Jeff Edwards

According to documents obtained by Boarding Area’s Gary Leff, U.S. government and private sector officials are stepping up efforts to encourage regulatory agencies around the world for the quick recertification of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The manufacturer says that it has new safety protocols in place and expects to obtain recertification approval from the FAA.

Boeing officials have indicated that they are ready to proceed with steps which will allow U.S. regulators to lift the grounding of 737 MAX aircraft. The company says it has completed software improvements and revamped training protocols in preparation for an anticipated recertification flight.

“With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement earlier this month. “We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right. We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly. The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives depend on what we do.”

Unfortunately for the U.S-based aviation giant, convincing other regulatory agencies around the globe to lift orders grounding the planes may be less cut and dry. A new report by Boarding Area’s Gary Leff indicates that aviation industry leaders and U.S. government officials are kicking into high gear efforts to lobby foreign governing bodies for a quick recertification of the 737 MAX planes when the FAA clears the aircraft for service.

“That aircraft is airworthy, and was even after the Ethiopian accident,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told employees in comments first reported by Leff. “We have pilots who take the time to care first and foremost about safety and make certain they know everything the airplane that they’re in charge of that they know what it does and doesn’t do, they have great confidence in the other person in the cockpit with them that they’ve been through the exact same..training.. our pilots, our training, our aircraft, that aircraft was airworthy even with the prior software.”

Parker says, however, that factors other than safety may be at play when it comes to regulatory authorities deciding if the aircraft should remain grounded or not. He expressed cautious optimism that a planned May 23rd meeting in Dallas with regulators from around the globe will help to universally convince officials that the plane is safe.

“At that time the FAA is going to show the other regulators their views on the fix,” Parker explained.[The FAA] will be at least very close to re-certifying the aircraft, weeks not months. Hopeful that at least some other regulators will come to the same conclusion based on what they see and learn. I know they know with relative certainty they won’t get everyone because politics are at play so there will be some parts of the world, I guess I should be fair to them, they may not come to the same conclusion. I think some of that will be because of their politics.”

Meanwhile, in anticipation of federal regulators recertifying the aircraft sooner rather than later, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said that passengers will have the option of rescheduling flights rather than flying on 737 MAX planes. Before the aircraft was grounded, Southwest Airlines officials dealt with a flood of customer backlash after refusing to rebook passengers who felt unsafe flying on the MAX aircraft. Munoz appears eager to avoid this sort of PR nightmare when the planes are cleared to fly. United is, however, much less reliant on the next generation Boeing aircraft than Southwest.

“We will make it very transparent that you are on that type of aircraft and if people need any kind of adjustments we will absolutely re-book them in any way, shape or form,” Munoz told reporters this week.

 

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. htb

    May 22, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I’m worried. Even after two crashes apparently caused by badly designed software, Boeing still insists that the plane was “airworthy”, and that the crashes “just happened”, maybe because the crew was poorly trained.

    Until this mindset at Boeing changes, I will be very reluctant to fly any newly developed plane from them.

  2. CEB

    May 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

    htb, read the article. American Airlines made the statement that the plane was airworthy even before the software fix, NOT Boeing!

    While I generally find that Jeff Edwards tends toward click bait as opposed to real content, this article shows a lot more balance than most of his blogs. I definitely agree that the decisions regarding this plane will be driven significantly by politics rather than reality, but that is the world we live in today where people react without thinking and everything is either black or white with no middle ground.

    A year or two from now no one will care.

  3. YOWisHome

    May 23, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Doug Parker making that statement is expressing his lack of understanding……How can he say that the Delta Pilots were fine without this change in the software?? They did not have the training or the knowledge of all of the ins and outs of the system…..That was the entire point to the fact it is not in a single FCOM….They had no simulator training with it either…

  4. chrisboote

    May 23, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Actually, htb, it’s that thick-skulled, penny-pinching, passenger-hating moron Doug Parker from AA tgat said all that, not any thick-skulled, penny-pinching, passenger-hating morons at Boeing

  5. Gizzabreak

    May 23, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    This aircraft type has had massive negative publicity, particularly in the non expert general press. There will be very few potential passengers who will not be aware of the recent issues and therefore very few who will be willing to fly on it … for about five minutes … then “all a distant memory”.

  6. OZFLYER86

    May 23, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Boeing knows that 1 more crash & that’s the end of the max. Max will be the safest aircraft to fly on now.

    How will passengers even know what type of 737 they are booked/flying on ? Even if they ask or look while booking, aircraft are swapped all the time. A bigger or smaller capacity 737 aircraft might be required.

  7. Boggie Dog

    May 25, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    @OZFLYER86 Should another Boeing 737 Max 8 crash that might signal the end of Boeing. I’m a retired Flight Engineer and try to keep the picture balanced but would have concerns flying on this aircraft until a lot of flight hours are rung up. If the changes to the aircraft to accommodate different engines are partially behind the crashes then has a real fix been implemented?

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