(AOF) – This Tuesday is an important day for Boeing (+ 0.87% to 218.13 dollars): its flagship aircraft, the 737 MAX, finally resumes service in the United States thanks to American Airlines, which operates today hui the aircraft’s first commercial flight in almost two years, between Miami and New York. The latter had been grounded since March 2019, following two crashes in five months which resulted in the death of nearly 350 people. After 20 months of investigation, development and testing, the FAA, the US aeronautics regulator, gave the green light in November to the 737 MAX to resume its flight.
American Airlines is not the first company to reuse this aircraft for a commercial flight: indeed, the Brazilian company Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOL) has been flying it again since December 9, as has the Mexican Grupo Aeromexico. United Airlines is expected to do the same as of next month, and Southwest Airlines, in the second quarter of 2021.
In addition, Alaska Air announced last week that it wanted to order up to 120 737 MAX type aircraft to replace its Airbus fleet.
This does not mean the end of the problems for Boeing, however, while 2020 has been a calamitous year for the aviation sector. Nor that his plane is now perfectly safe. Proof of this is the mishap, on December 22, of an Air Canada 737 MAX, connecting Arizona to Montreal: during a non-commercial “positioning flight”, the plane was forced to land at Tucson, shortly after takeoff, due to an engine shutdown.
The various malfunctions of the Boeing, which led to the two disasters of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, raised questions and doubts about the FAA approval procedures, but also the withholding of information from of Boeing regarding the safety and reliability of its aircraft.
During an investigation, the results of which were published last August, the FAA notably revealed that some employees said they were victims of “strong” external pressure from the aviation sector. They also warned that safety was not always the priority of the federal agency.
In mid-December, a US Senate report on the 737 MAX’s new flight certification lashed out at Boeing officials, claiming they had “inappropriately prepared” test pilots before taking the tests in order to obtain this. new certification. The report adds that the FAA and Boeing allegedly “attempted to cover up important information which could have contributed to the 737 MAX tragedies.”
Following the aforementioned tragedies, Congress enacted a new law reforming aircraft certification protocols. The latter, ratified by President Donald Trump on Sunday, “will give the FAA more authority over private sector aviation workers, such as those at Boeing, who are involved in aircraft certification,” Republican Senator from Mississippi Roger Wicker in an article published in a local newspaper. He added that it “will take steps to prevent manufacturers from putting undue pressure on employees during the certification process. And it will strengthen vital protections for whistleblowers.”
“These measures should help restore the culture of safety within the FAA, ensuring America remains the safest place in the world to fly,” the senator concluded.
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