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Europe regulator sees November lifting of Boeing 737 MAX flight ban




Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX could receive regulatory approval to resume flying in November and enter service by the end of the year, Europe’s chief aviation safety regulator said on Friday.


“For the first time in a year and a half I can say there’s an end in sight to work on the MAX,” said Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).


EASA expects to lift its technical ban “not long” after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), probably in November, but national operational clearances needed for individual airlines to resume flying in Europe could take longer, he said.


“We are looking at November,” he said when asked when the technical ban would be lifted. China is expected to take longer to give its own approval, he said, without elaborating.

Cologne-based EASA, which regulates air safety in 32 mainly European Union countries, has locked horns with the FAA and Boeing over the scope of an international review into 737 MAX systems following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.


All but one of the differences has been resolved, he said, with EASA, supported by some unions, calling for pilots to be able to manually cut power to a “stick shaker” alarm system suspected of distracting Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crew.


The main focus of the review has surrounded black-box evidence that bad data from a single faulty flight-angle sensor triggered a cockpit software system that repeatedly pointed the aircraft’s nose down and overwhelmed the crew on both flights.

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