Boeing 737 MAX can return to Canadian skies this week

Canada plans to become the latest country to reauthorise Boeing’s 737 MAX after two fatal crashes grounded the aircraft in 2019.

Boeing employees and guests welcome a Boeing 777X airplane returning from its inaugural flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington on January 25, 2020. - Boeing''s new long-haul 777X airliner made i
Regulators in the United States, Europe and Brazil have also cleared Boeing's 737 MAX to return to the skies in recent months [File: Jason Redmond/AFP]

Canada said on Monday that it will lift a near two-year flight ban on Boeing Co’s 737 MAX on January 20, joining other countries like the United States that have brought the aircraft back following two fatal crashes.

Regulator Transport Canada also said in a release that had it issued an airworthiness directive on Monday, along with an interim order that outlines requirements for airlines on additional crew training.

Canada said in December that it expected to lift its flight ban on the jetliner in January after approving design changes to the aircraft, which was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people in total.

In early December, Brazil’s GOL Airlines became the first in the world to return the planes to its active fleet.

Later that month, American Airlines resumed passenger flights with the 737 MAX in the US after the Federal Aviation Administration approved changes that Boeing made to an automated flight-control system implicated in crashes.

In both crashes, the system pushed the nose down repeatedly based on faulty sensor readings, and pilots were unable to regain control.

Regulators in Europe have also cleared the way for airlines to resume using the plane if they make certain changes and provide additional training for pilots.

Despite a bump in orders in December, Chicago-based Boeing still reported more cancellations than new orders for the 737 MAX.

The market for new planes remains depressed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated air travel and caused airlines to reconsider aircraft purchases. Despite the December numbers, Boeing’s full-year numbers for 2020 still declined from 2019.

Boeing finished 2020 with 157 deliveries, including planes handed over to cargo airlines and military customers. That was down from 380 deliveries in 2019.

Deliveries are crucial because aircraft makers get much of their cash when planes are delivered. Short on cash during the MAX grounding, Boeing has borrowed billions and cut thousands of jobs to reduce costs.

Source: News Agencies