Decisive week for the future of the Boeing 737 MAX in Europe.
Banned from traveling over the Old Continent for almost two years, after two crashes that claimed the lives of 346 people including fifty Europeans, the American plane should have its ban lifted.
Patrick Ky, the director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that the B 737 MAX will recover its certificate of airworthiness by the end of the week.
But surprise, in emergency, this Monday, Patrick Ky will be heard by the transport committee of the European Parliament.
"We want to be sure that this plane will fly again in complete safety," explains Karima Delli, elected Europe Ecology-the Greens and president of the transport and tourism committee.
In particular, the recertification carried out by EASA was done in complete independence.
MEPs are responding to a repeated request from the families of victims to better control EASA.
For them, this plane is not yet fit to fly.
The Boeing 737 MAX authorized to fly?
The anger of the families of French victims
A legitimate distrust.
Because the American investigation which followed these two crashes, one in Indonesia, the other in Ethiopia, brought to light an unprecedented scandal in the history of aviation by revealing that Boeing had hidden design elements of his new plane at the FAA, the US aviation safety agency.
And in particular its MCAS, an anti-stall software at the origin of these two accidents.
Facts recognized by Boeing, which recently agreed to pay 2.5 billion dollars (2 billion euros) to end the criminal proceedings.
However, it also appears that the FAA has delegated part of the first certification to Boeing.
Facts of extreme gravity, knowing that an aircraft that has been certified in the United States is not certified in the same details in Europe.
“Certification agencies trust each other,” says a connoisseur.
The control after the first certification is done on document.
64 models delivered to Europe
“Given the seriousness of what happened, we therefore want to know how EASA recertified the aircraft,” continues Karima Delli.
This is a prerequisite before the ban is lifted.
"From there to imagine that Parliament prohibits the resumption of flights ..." We are the legislator, EASA must be accountable to us, sweeps the MEP.
If the answers are not satisfactory, we will draw conclusions.
To date, no French company owns a Boeing 737 MAX.
The 64 models delivered to Europe for the moment are divided between around ten companies including Norwegian (ten planes), Turkish Airlines (five planes) or the tour operator TUI (nine planes).
Ryanair has, however, ordered 210.
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In a letter addressed to MEPs, ahead of the hearing, the Vol ET302 Solidarity and Justice association, created after the Ethiopian plane crash, wonders: "Could the fraudulent behavior of Boeing have been be prevented by the current functioning of EASA?
How can we now ensure Boeing's honesty?
These two crashes showed that if the first certificate authority failed, there was no safeguard.
What about today ?
Finally, what about EASA's responsibility?
Authorized in the United States, Canada and Brazil
A few weeks ago, contacted on the certification process, EASA assured that it had been carried out "completely independently" and that reforms were launched to improve the control of Boeing planes, without further details.
“European citizens must be able to expect performance, transparency and independence from their agencies, however, argues Stéphane Gicquel, consultant, who has previously supported the families of victims of about fifteen air crashes.
Here, we are talking about an airplane, but the stakes are very similar on the authorization of Covid vaccines by the European Medicines Agency.
While the United States, Brazil and Canada have already recertified the plane, Virginie Fricaudet, president of the Flight ET 302 association, asks: "Why such a rush when air traffic is grounded by the pandemic ?
EASA already wants to recertify the plane even though it has not yet completed its safety report.
Have there been economic pressures?