The Boeing 737 Max, which caused the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302, killing 346 people, will be back in the air as soon as early 2020.
In a press release, Boeing announced it is still targeting FAA certification of the MAX flight control software updates during the current fourth quarter.
Based on that schedule Boeing said it's possible that it can resume MAX deliveries to airline customers starting in December. At the same time, it is working toward the final validation of its training requirements, which it updated in the wake of the crashes, and is necessary for the MAX to return to commercial service. It now expects service to begin in January.
Boeing says its priority is on safety
"Boeing’s priority remains the safe return to service of the MAX and supporting our airline customers through this challenging time. We are working closely with the FAA and other regulatory authorities as we work towards certification and safe return to commercial service, and we are taking the time to answer all of their questions," Boeing wrote in a press release.
The company said it has to meet five milestones in order for the FAA to sign off on it returning to service. They include a multi-day eCab simulator evaluation, a separate multi-day simulator evaluation with airline pilots, an FAA certified flight test, a final Boeing certification, and a Joint Operational Evaluation Board, in which a multi-day simulation session is conducted with global regulatory pilots to validate the training.
Boeing needs to meet four more milestones
Boeing said it concluded the first of these milestones and is now working towards the FAA line pilots evaluation and the FAA certification flight test.
"At each step of this process Boeing has worked closely with the FAA and other regulators. We’re providing detailed documentation, had them fly in the simulators, and helped them understand our logic and the design for the new procedures, software and proposed training material to ensure that they are completely satisfied as to the airplane’s safety," Boeing said in the press release. "The FAA and other regulatory authorities will ultimately determine return to service in each relevant jurisdiction. This may include a phased approach and timing may vary by jurisdiction."