Boeing Plant in Renton, Washington State, March 2019
Photo: JASON REDMOND / AFP
The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) has decided: The Boeing 737 Max can fly again.
The supervisory authorities in the USA and Canada had previously given the relevant permission.
The EU authority had decided - unlike usual - to make its own assessment instead of following the judgment of colleagues across the Atlantic as is usual.
The background could also be the now too close relationship between the US regulatory authority FAA and Boeing.
The Europeans' program also included their own test flights.
"We turned every stone," said EASA boss Patrick Ky.
The 737 Max had not been allowed to take off since March 2019.
The reason for this were two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, in which a total of 346 people were killed.
This was due to a bug in the MCAS assistance system.
This system should actually prevent the jet from climbing too steeply - and thus preventing a dangerous stall.
However, because the system relied on the information from a single sensor - which was defective in the aircraft involved in the accident - it delivered incorrect control commands - and sent the aircraft on a dive that the crews could no longer correct.
Billion dollar fine
Boeing has corrected the software of the MCAS system and the training for the pilots has also been improved.
With fines of $ 2.5 billion, the company also ended its criminal investigation.
Meanwhile, a former Boeing manager continues to raise serious allegations against the company.
Ed Pierson worked in a responsible position in the production of the 737 from 2015 to 2018.
More than a year ago, at a hearing in the US Congress, he complained about problematic conditions in production.
He had "seen a factory in chaos," said Pierson at the time.
Now he has published a 14-page report, according to which fundamental production and quality problems could be responsible for the crashes.
"We can either investigate and fix these production problems, or we can wait for another catastrophe," the paper concludes.
Boeing had developed the 737 Max primarily for the requirements of low-cost airlines.
The machine should become the most important model of the group and take market share from the European competitor Airbus.
It is based on a model that has been built in principle since the 1960s, but has more modern and economical engines.
From Boeing's point of view, this made the introduction of the MCAS system necessary.
In the meantime, airlines have canceled hundreds of orders because there are significantly fewer machines than usual on the road in the corona-related aviation crisis.
Boeing threatens a record loss.
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