The airline safety body of the European Union has said that it would conduct its own tests for safety of Boeing’s 737 Max planes before it allows the crafts to fly again and will not automatically accept the flying recertification by the United States FAA in this regard. This is a marked departure from its usual policy in this regards.
There is no available timetable for 737 Max planes being able to fly.
The decision of the EU was announced by Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, while speaking before a European Parliament committee. He said that independent tests of the plane would be conducted by the EU before the crafts are allowed to fly again commercially to and within the EU.
Earlier this year, when the US airline safety agency had initiated its own review of fixing to the MCAS flight control system, software issue that is believed to be behind two deadly crashes that killed a total of 346 people, the EASA presented to the Federal Aviation Administration four conditions, Ky said. The notable among them was the insistence of the EASA that it would approve all changes to the 737 Max proposed by Boeing without delegating any testing to the FAA. A broader examination of the design of the crafts, understanding of the cause of the crashes and installing adequate training process for the flight crew of the 737 Max planes were the other three.
“We’ve decided to recertify the critical parts [of the 737 Max] that we hadn’t looked at previously,” Ky said. “Those are domains we had not certified ourselves because we had delegated those tasks to the FAA.”
These conditions put forward by the EASA were against the established and followed norm of the negotiations in the past between the EASA and the FAA over issues of the certification process for commercial airplanes. The two sides have a bilateral aviation safety agreement in place and according to it, traditionally the FAA’s decisions had been accepted by the EASA without it conducting any review of its own. This agreement had allowed all planes – irrespective of the maker, being able to start flying commercially in the two regions at the same time.
Following the two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max planes – one had taken place in October last year and the other one in March of 2019, the role of the FAA had come under close scrutiny. There were questions raised about whether employees of Boring acted on behalf of the agency while the certification process was on and about whether the FAA was slack in development and implementation of standards for pilot training.
The FAA’s relationship with other civil aviation authorities is transparent and collaborative, said the agency in an email to the media, even as it is currently undertaking examination of the changes being that have made to the 737 Max planes. “Our first priority is safety, and we have set no timeframe for when the work will be completed,” the statement said. “Each government will make its own decision to return the aircraft to service based on a thorough safety assessment.”
(Adapted form CNet.com)