MIAMI – The head of the European aviation safety agency, EASA, told the BBC the Boeing 737 MAX was now safe, and as a result, could fly back in Europe.
Executive Director Patrick Ky said his organization “left no stone unturned” in overhauling the aircraft and analyzing the manufacturer’s design changes. The aircraft has already been authorized to fly in Brazil and the United States. EASA plans to re-introduce the Jet to fly again over European skies by mid-January.
After the second incident involving Ethiopian Airlines (ET), the FAA as well as EASA decided to carry out an overhaul to the aircraft. The overhaul, Mr. Ky says, went far beyond the immediate causes of the two crashes and the changes proposed by Boeing. On his part, Patrick Ky said, “We went further and reviewed all the flight controls, all the machinery on the plane”.
To return of the MAX to service, all aircraft will need new computer software, as well as undergoing changes to the cockpit wiring and instrumentation. Furthermore, all 737 MAX Pilots will have to undergo mandatory training and every MAX aircraft will have to undergo a test flight to ensure that the changes have been made correctly.
“We Trust in Safety”
The US regulators have done the same thing. Mr. Ky further said, “We are very confident that it is now a very safe plane.” Much of the work was done by the FAA, and simply approved by EASA under the terms of a longstanding international agreement.
Since a faulty plane was put into service from the outset, Mr. Ky states that “from now, on things will be different. What is certain is that there have been lessons learned from this, which will trigger new actions by We will do our own security assessment, which will be much more comprehensive than it was in the past.”
Since EASA is not the primary authority carrying out security work, it will look much more closely at the decisions of others. Have the regulators lost their credibility after what happened? “I hope not,” Ky says. “I think we have made a lot of progress in evaluating what went wrong and what can be improved. I hope the public will trust us when we say we think, we are sure, that the plane is safe to fly.”
Featured image: Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Boeing