New York (AFP)
More than six months after the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX following two accidents causing 346 deaths, there is still no date for his return to the sky, said Monday the US authorities.
"The FAA continues to follow a meticulous process, not a fixed schedule, to put the aircraft back into service," said Steve Dickson, the new boss of the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (FAA).
"Our priority is safety, and (therefore) we have not stopped a timetable to know when our inspection will be completed," insisted the official in a speech, sent to AFP and delivered in front of his peers when a closed meeting in Montreal.
Mr. Dickson further indicated that the lifting of the flight ban will be country by country, thus seemingly taking note of the differences between the world's civil aviation authorities.
He also confirmed that he planned to fly himself into the modified 737 MAX before it returned to the American skies.
Asked by AFP whether this uncertainty called into question the group's hope of stealing the MAX at the "beginning of the fourth quarter," which begins next week, a spokesman said: "There is nothing new".
"We were pleased to present our changes today (Monday) to global regulators and will continue to provide information as we all work towards a return to service of the 737 MAX," he said.
Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's CEO, will no doubt be questioned on this issue during a planned intervention at the New York Economic Club on October 2nd.
The 737 MAX has been grounded for more than six months, a record for a new model. By comparison, the Boeing 787 was out of the air for three months in 2013 after battery-related firing problems.
- $ 144,500 for each victim -
The FAA is currently reviewing Boeing's changes to the MCAS software, the anti-stall system specifically designed for the MAX and implicated by preliminary investigations in the Ethiopian Airlines accidents of March 10th and Lion Air of March 29th. October 2018.
She is still waiting to receive the changes made on the flight control system.
Boeing suspended MAX deliveries and reduced production by 20%.
Speculation is going well.
Experts expect a return to service in the spring of 2020, while airlines such as SouthWest and Air Canada have removed the MAX from their flight programs until at least January.
The FAA also acknowledged Monday that dissension with other regulators, including Europeans and Canadians, would not allow the modified 737 MAX to return to the global sky simultaneously.
"Each government will make its own decision on the return to service of the aircraft, based on a thorough review of its safety," said the regulator, whose proximity to Boeing has been denounced from all sides for several months.
For example, Europeans, via the European Civil Aviation Agency (EASA), consider Boeing's solution to the possible failure of Angle of Attack (AOA) transmitting information to the MCAS to be unsatisfactory.
Canadians demand simulator pilots training, while Americans believe a simple computer or iPad training is enough.
The FAA is alleged to have been the last authority to ground the aircraft and to have Boeing certify the important 737 MAX systems, including the MCAS.
The Indonesian authorities estimate in the preliminary findings of a report that problems in the design and supervision of the 737 MAX have played an important role in the crash of the Lion Air aircraft, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A panel of international regulators, set up by the FAA, should also submit in the coming weeks a very critical report on the relationship between Boeing and the authority, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Boeing, which faces a hundred complaints, proposed Monday to pay $ 144,500 to each family of 346 victims, money from a specific fund with a total of $ 100 million.
This amount is a little less than the list price of a 737 MAX - $ 110 million.
© 2019 AFP