FAA Clears Boeing's 737 MAX To Fly Again
20 months after the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded following two fatal crashes, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order yesterday giving the 737 MAX the go ahead to return to service.
The FAA also issued a directive detailing the design changes that operators of the 737 MAX need to be make before they can fly again. The FAA must approve pilot training program changes for the 737 MAX for each U.S. airline operating the aircraft. Airlines that have had their 737 MAX aircraft parked must take the required maintenance steps in order for them to fly again.
"We've done everything humanly possible to make sure these types of crashes do not happen again," Dickson told Reuters. "I feel 100% confident."
Boeing praised the FAA's decision while laying out additional steps the company is taking to strengthen its focus on safety and quality such as an organizational alignment that includes a Product & Services Safety unit as well as process enhancements.
"We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations," Boeing CEO David Calhoun said. "The FAA's directive is an important milestone, we will continue to work with regulators around the world and our customers to return the airplane back into service worldwide."
However, not everyone is pleased with the FAA's decision as U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey called the move premature.
"Allowing these planes to fly again is a premature leap of faith," the senators said in a statement. "The FAA's directive to unground 737 MAX aircraft fails to address the larger systemic issues at Boeing and the FAA that led to the deaths of 346 people."
Shares of Boeing jumped more than 6% on the news before finishing the day lower. Despite being up more than 100% from the March low, shares of Boeing are still down more than 50% from their March 2009 all-time high, which was when the FAA grounded the 737 MAX.
While the news is encouraging for Boeing, the company still has a long way to go to regain the trust of passengers and make up for the damage that the scandal has done to the company from a financial perspective.
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