Europe is set to lift a 22-month flight ban on the Boeing 737 Max this week after reviewing submissions by industry experts and whistleblowers.
After giving provisional approval in November, EASA sifted through input from 38 commenters and “received directly a number of whistleblower reports that we thoroughly analysed and took into account,” Executive Director Patrick Ky said on Monday, according to Reuters. The reports, Ky said, did not expose any fresh technical problems.
A green light from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is a key step towards resolving the almost two-year safety crisis. The jet was banned from flying after crashes of the jet in Indonesia and Ethiopia that were linked to flawed cockpit software.
The United States lifted its ban in November, followed by Brazil and Canada. China, which was first to ban the plane after the second crash in March 2019, has not said when it will act.
Solidarity and Justice, a France-based victims’ group, said the the move to lift the ban on the aircraft was “premature, inappropriate and even dangerous”.
EASA, which represents 31 mainly EU nations, has emerged stronger from the crisis, according to analysts and airline chiefs. The regulatory agency insisted on doing its own independent review of all critical systems well beyond the MCAS software, irking Boeing and some U.S. officials.
It also said the causes of the accidents must be understood, design changes must be implemented and pilots properly trained. “We believe those four conditions are now met,” Ky said.
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