Boeing aims to conduct a 737 Max certification test flight by the end of June, Reuters sources said. The information would have been shared by the manufacturer with its customers in the past few days.
Although it declined to comment on the matter, Boeing revealed that it received FAA approval to carry out modifications to the wiring installation on the 737 Max, one of the problems pointed out by the U.S. official and preventing its return to service.
“Boeing has already begun modifying airplanes that have not yet been delivered and is coordinating modification efforts with the airlines,” the company said to Reuters. “New airplanes being built will include this update,” it added.
The US manufacturer also confirmed that it is already sharing updated documents for training pilots and maintenance personnel, although not yet in its final version “to help operators facilitate and plan the development of their training programs.” Despite the good news, the certification flight may only take place in July, pushing the aircraft’s return forecast to August or later.
The 737 Max has been banned from flying since March 2019, after two fatal accidents that killed 346 people. Investigations revealed several flaws in the aircraft’s design including the MCAS system, which was supposed to ease the crew’s work in situations of high angle of attack. Since then, Boeing has been working on ways to correct these problems and increase the safety of the jet, its most commercially successful model.
After keeping the assembly line running even without being able to deliver aircraft, Boeing suspended production of the 737 Max in January, but resumed work a few weeks ago at a slow pace. There are at least 400 aircraft parked at various airports awaiting clearance to be delivered to their customers.
Even with FAA approval, the return to service of the 737 Max is expected to be slow and gradual due to the need for crew training.