FAA rejects Boeing 737 documentation – American and Southwest Airlines delay its return to service until March 2020

American Airlines ©AirTeamImages

With the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) flagging a number of issues during a documentation audit of how the latest 737 MAX software update was developed, the outcome is a number of carriers having to further amend their schedules to take into account the fact that the grounded jet is unlikely now to receive FAA approval to return to the skies until the beginning of the new year.

The FAA has always made it clear that it will require a full month subsequent to any successful test flight for the software update and additional safety improvements to the 737 MAX, while the EASA would require approximately two months. According to Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe, the company: “provided technical documentation to the regulators as part of the software validation process. The documentation was complete, and it was provided in a format consistent with past submissions. Regulators have requested that the information be conveyed in a different form, and the documentation is being revised accordingly.”

However, according to Reuters news agency, one person briefed on the matter characterized the issue differently and said Boeing’s paperwork had gaps, was substandard and this meant regulators could not complete the audit, a crucial step before the plane can be certified to return to service. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines Group Inc confirmed on Friday they are extending Boeing 737 MAX flight cancellations until early March. Between them the two carriers are having to cancel 300 flights a day as a result of the MAX grounding.

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