News ID: 240446
Published: 1004 GMT March 20, 2019

Boeing crisis grows as EU and Canada step up scrutiny of 737 MAX

Boeing crisis grows as EU and Canada step up scrutiny of 737 MAX
A worker is pictured next to a Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane on March 12, 2019 at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington.
AFP

The crisis for US aviation company Boeing is growing as the European Union and Canada said they would seek their own guarantees over the safety of the 737 MAX following the two deadly crashes of the company’s flagship aircraft.

The announcements further complicate Boeing’s plan to get the aircraft flying worldwide after they were grounded in the wake of crashes that killed 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia in the past five months, Press TV reported.

The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced Tuesday that it will not allow any Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to fly in their airspace until they approve any changes made.

EASA said the 737 MAX planes will not be allowed into European airspace until the EU approves Boeing’s software fixes, and will not rely on the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval.

Canada made a similar announcement a day earlier, saying it would independently certify the 737 MAX in the future, rather than accepting FAA validation.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Monday would conduct an “exhaustive review” of the automated flight control system in MAX aircraft, known as MCAS, which experts believe may have played a role in both crashes.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 killed 157 people, leading to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet worldwide and sharpening focus on the safety of software installed on the planes.

Ethiopia is leading the investigation, though the black boxes were sent to France because Ethiopian officials had been reluctant to share information with US investigation teams and the plane maker.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg released a statement Monday, saying that the world’s largest aviation company is "taking actions to fully ensure the safety of the 737 MAX."

In the letter, Muilenburg noted that "soon we'll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 MAX that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident."

The company on Tuesday reshuffled the top executives in its civil aviation unit to focus on the accident investigations.

A Wall Street Journal report on Sunday said that the US Transportation Department was probing the FAA approval of the 737 MAX and in particular its MCAS system.

US President Donald Trump plans to nominate former Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson to head the FAA on Tuesday.

Lawmakers and safety experts are questioning how thoroughly regulators vetted the MAX model and how well pilots were trained on new features.

Boeing shares rose slightly on Tuesday but are still down more than 11 percent since the crash in Ethiopia, wiping out over $25 billion off its market share.

 

   
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