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EU, UK Clear Boeing 737 Max For Return To Service

boeing737max jan28 lt

The European Union and Britain have cleared Boeing's 737 Max for return to service in their respective regions after being grounded for nearly two years.

The EU's air safety watchdog European Union Aviation Safety Agency or EASA in a statement said the agency has approved the return to service of a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX following extensive analysis. The aircraft is mandated to have a package of software upgrades, electrical wiring rework, maintenance checks, operations manual updates and crew training.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority or CAA also lifted the ban on Boeing 737 Max, and allowed UK airlines to operate passenger flights with the aircraft, subject to close oversight. CAA said its action follows similar decisions by the EASA, US Federal Aviation Administration or FAA and Transport Canada.

UK's removal of the airspace ban will allow foreign operators to fly the Boeing 737 MAX in UK airspace. The UK regulator also said it is in close contact with TUI, currently the only UK operator of the aircraft, as it returns its aircraft to service.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said, "This assessment was carried out in full independence of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration and without any economic or political pressure.... We carried out our own flight tests and simulator sessions and did not rely on others to do this for us."

The Boeing 737 MAX, which was the world's biggest-selling aircraft, was grounded worldwide in March 2019 following two accidents within just six months, which together claimed 346 lives. The root cause of the accidents was traced to software known as the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), intended to make the plane easier to handle.

EASA noted that the agency, and regulators in Canada and Brazil, worked closely with the FAA and Boeing throughout the last 20 months to return the plane safely to operations.

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