EASA to begin flight tests on September 7 for the updated Boeing 737 MAX

©Boeing 737 MAX

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has announced that it is to begin flight tests on the updated Boeing 737 MAX in Vancouver, Canada, on September 7.

The move comes two months after both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had completed certification flight tests. According to the EASA, “While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, EASA judges the overall maturity of the re-design process is now sufficient to proceed to flight tests.” The European agency has worked closely with Boeing and the FAA, but progress in getting the troubled aircraft back in the sky has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic which has hampered travel between the U.S. and Europe.

In the meantime, Pilots from both Boeing and Canada’s transportation watchdog, Transport Canada, began flight tests on the 737 MAX this Wednesday. Once flight tests are complete, Canadian, European, and Brazilian regulators, operating under the banner of the Joint Evaluation Board, will carry out simulator exercises to assess any proposed changes to pilot training. If all goes well and no further glitches either in the plane’s structure or upgraded software are found, the FAA will subsequently issue an order which will rescind the grounding of the jet.

With deliveries unlikely to recommence before the beginning of the fourth quarter, there is a possibility that the 737 MAX will not be back in commercial service before 2021.

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