Topline: After 20 long and turbulent months of being grounded, the Boeing 737 MAX is ready to take off into the skies as it gets approval to return to commercial service, says the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday, November 18. This follows after The Boeing Company had to suspend the services of the airplanes due to the crash of Ethiopian Airline’s Boeing 737 MAX in March 2019.
- The FAA released a comprehensive and methodical safety review process report on Wednesday that took 20 months to complete. The report is to address the safety issues regarding the plane.
- Boeing 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 when 346 lives were lost within a five-month timeline.
- On October 29, 2018, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashed after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia. 13 minutes after takeoff, Flight 610 crashed killing 189 people.
- Five months later, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after take-off on March 10 killing all 149 people on board.
- This led to many big airlines having to ground their Boeing 737 Max planes due to safety concerns. This included the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) who ordered all Chinese airlines to ground their Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets a day after the fatal Ethiopian crash. American Airlines, Comair Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines are just to name a few that also made the decision to ground their 737s.
- “Throughout our transparent process, we cooperated closely with our foreign counterparts on every aspect of the return to service. Additionally, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson personally took the recommended pilot training and piloted the Boeing 737 MAX, so he could experience the handling of the aircraft firsthand,” the FAA statement read.
- This stamp of approval allows airlines that are under the FAA’s jurisdiction to take the necessary steps to resume services.
According to CNN, Boeing stated that this longest grounding in commercial aviation history has cost the company $20 Billion. This includes $8.6 billion to compensate customers who had their planes grounded, $5 billion for unusual costs of production, and $6.3 billion for increased costs of the 737 Max program.
“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” said David Calhoun, chief executive officer of The Boeing Company. “These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality, and integrity.”