After two accidents with a total of hundreds of deaths, authorities took the Boeing 737 Max jet out of service. Now the aircraft manufacturer recovers the take-off permit.
Washington (AP) – The launch ban on Boeing’s ill-fated 737 Max was lifted after more than a year and a half.
One of the prerequisites for this is the installation of new control software on the aircraft, as the US air traffic control FAA in Washington announced on Wednesday. The crisis plane was put out of service in March 2019 in the course of two crashes with a total of 346 deaths. The main cause of the accidents was a faulty control program. Boeing really wanted to fix the problems after the first accident. However, other defects occurred repeatedly, so it finally took the FAA around 20 months to lift the 737 Max’s flight ban.
Europe’s aviation authority EASA had already announced in mid-October that the 737 Max was safe enough again, and thus signaled its approval of a new registration. Experts hope that European and other international supervisory authorities will also quickly give the green light after the FAA’s decision. In addition to EASA, supervisors from Canada and Brazil had already cooperated with the FAA on parts of the reauthorization process. It will still take a while before the 737 Max can fully start working again. First, final maintenance work and pilot training must be completed.
The 737 Max disaster also put Boeing under heavy financial pressure. Airbus’ archrival could no longer deliver the 737 Max, its best-selling model until accidents, to customers since spring 2019 due to flight bans. Numerous orders were canceled and Boeing incurred billions in additional costs. In the three months to the end of September, the fourth consecutive quarterly loss was incurred. The group is reacting to the difficult financial situation with drastic cost reduction measures and wants to reduce its number of employees to around 130,000 by the end of 2021. For comparison: at the beginning of 2020, Boeing still had around 160,000 employees.
Even if the re-registration of the 737 Max is a huge relief to Boeing, the American aviation giant is still going through extremely difficult times. The corona pandemic, which paralyzed much of air traffic and put many airlines in financial distress, is likely to be a burden for much longer. The group expects a streak of drought that will permanently dampen demand for planes. Boeing expects it to take about three years to return to 2019 levels. It will take five years or more for the aviation industry to return to its long-term growth trend.