Boeing 737 MAX starts flight tests in Canada

Transport Canada agency joins efforts to put the aircraft back into service
The 737 MAX 7 N7201S on a recertification flight on Moses Lake (LunchWithaLens/CC)

Transport Canada, the agency responsible for civil aviation in the country, started test flights with the 737 MAX on Wednesday as part of efforts to recertify the Boeing jet.

According to the authority, it is the first non-US regulator to carry out such activities after the FAA ended its assessment in July. Like the American agency, the Canadian team is flying a 737 MAX 7 provided by Boeing with equipment and sensors to record the jet’s behavior. The flights are being made from Moses Lake, an airport located in the state of Washington that is used by Boeing for its own tests.

In its 737 MAX recertification process, the FAA agreed with other agencies to have independent reviews to validate airframer’s proposed changes. “These tests will validate key areas of the FAA certification,” said the Canada agency last week.

The FAA also has the participation of the agency EASA, from Europe, and the Brazilian ANAC. In September, the four regulators will decide on the minimum training for pilots to be able to fly the 737 MAX on the so-called Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB).

American Airlines expects its 737 MAX to return to service in December (Nathan Coats / Wikimedia)

Last steps

Although the FAA has not committed itself to setting a date for issuing the Airworthiness Directive that will terminate the grounding of the Boeing plane, the understanding in the market is that this should occur in October, shortly after the public hearing process launched this month is closed.

Some airlines like American Airlines and Gol have said they expect to see the 737 MAX return in December. The best-selling commercial jet in Boeing’s history, the model has been banned from flying since March 2019 after two fatal accidents such as planes from Lion Air and Ethiopian Airways that killed 346 people.

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