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15 APRIL 2019
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Late May or early June has been set by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the date for its approval of Boeing’s proposed changes to the Boeing B737 8 Max and the issue of an airworthiness directive to allow operations to resume.
The further delay was relayed at a 3hr meeting on Friday between the authority and representatives from the three US Max operators – American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines – and unions.
At the same time, Boeing said it had completed 96 test flights and 159 test hours on the Max 8 upgraded with new software. CEO Dennis Muilenberg said Boeing had flown 159 test hours on the upgraded jet, and that the new software had “functioned as designed”.
Muilenberg added: “The update will make the 737 Max even safer by preventing erroneous angle-of-attack sensor readings from triggering the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.”
The MCAS, he confirmed, was “something that initial investigation reports indicate occurred in both Max accidents, as one link in a longer chain of events.”
With the peak leisure-travel season looming, Southwest Airlines confirmed it was keeping its Max fleet grounded until 5 August to “add further stability” for passengers making bookings.
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