Europe has outlined its own demands that Boeing must meet before its 737 Max plane can return to the skies instead of relying on the findings of the US’ examination of the plane.
The Financial Times reported that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has outlined three “pre-requisite conditions” that Boeing must meet before the plane is no longer grounded in Europe, even if the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves fixes to the planes and allows it to fly again.
The planes have been grounded around the world after an Ethiopian Airlines plane killed all 157 people on board when it crashed in March, less than five months after a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max plane crashed and killed all 189 on board in October.
Boeing has completed a software update that will be examined by the FAA before the plane is allowed to fly again.
But EASA said that it has to approve and mandate all design changes to the plane, that it conducts its own independent design review, and that all crews flying the plane model “have been adequately trained,” according to the FT.
An EASA spokesman told the FT: “We are working on having the 737 Max 8 return to service as soon as possible, but only once there is complete reassurance that it is safe.”
Both the FAA and Boeing have been made aware of these conditions, they said.
No one from EASA was available to comment on the FT’s report when contacted by Business Insider.
Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director, first announced in March that the body would conduct its own review of the fixes to the Max, telling an EU parliament committee hearing: “We will not allow the aircraft to fly if we have not found acceptable answers to all our questions.”
The FAA has increased its work with global regulators as it deals with the Boeing crisis. It announced in April that it was forming a panel with EASA and other regulators around the world to review the plane.
Alan Diehl, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, told Business Insider that the process was unusual, and that forming such a panel would help soothe any doubts that the international aviation community and Congress might have about the FAA’s examination of the plane.
“The process is needed to regain trust by the international community,” he said.
The reputation of the FAA, as well as the US’ reputation as the gold standard for aviation safety, is also under threat, as its process for certifying planes comes under fire. The FAA faces federal investigations and Congressional hearings into how the 737 Max was certified to fly.
Experts have previously told Business Insider that the FAA’s model that allows Boeing to partly certify its own planes and its reluctance to grown the planes may be harming its reputation around the world.
They said that Ethiopia’s decision to send the black box from its crash to France, and not to the US where Boeing is based, can be seen as a snub and a sign that the US’ reputation is taking a hit.
Boeing has said that it is working with regulators as well as with airlines and pilots and giving additional training, and said that the plane will be one of the “safest ever to fly” when it returns.
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