EU regulator clears Boeing 737 MAX to resume flights

Wednesday, January 27
Newsday and Agencies

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the Boeing 737 MAX to fly again, almost two years after the plane was grounded following two fatal crashes.

The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes that together killed 346 people -- the 2018 Lion Air disaster in Indonesia and an Ethiopian Airlines crash the following year.

Investigators said a main cause of both crashes was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

Meant to keep the plane from stalling as it ascends, the automated system instead forced the nose of the plane downward.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered Boeing to revamp the jet and implement new pilot training protocols, before finally approving the plane for a return to service in November.

Boeing was plunged into crisis, with more than 650 orders for the 737 MAX cancelled since last year.

However, the company received a boost in December when Ryanair said it had ordered 75 more of the jets, the first major order since they were grounded.

Boeing is hoping Covid-19 vaccination drives will help improve its fortunes this year, after Boeing delivered just 157 planes last year, a 59 percent slump.