Travel Industry News at TravelNewsAsia.com since 1997. Interviews, podcasts, videos, pictures and more
Thu, 28 January 2021

EASA Gives Green Light to B737 MAX; Boeing Agrees to Make More Changes

(28 Jan 2021) The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has given its seal of approval for the return to service of a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX, mandating a package of software upgrades, electrical working rework, maintenance checks, operations manual updates and crew training which will allow the plane to fly safely in European skies after almost two years on the ground.

We have reached a significant milestone on a long road, said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. Following extensive analysis by EASA, we have determined that the 737 MAX can safely return to service. This assessment was carried out in full independence of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration and without any economic or political pressure we asked difficult questions until we got answers and pushed for solutions which satisfied our exacting safety requirements. We carried out our own flight tests and simulator sessions and did not rely on others to do this for us.

Boeing 737 MAX 7. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Let me be quite clear that this journey does not end here, he added. We have every confidence that the aircraft is safe, which is the precondition for giving our approval. But we will continue to monitor 737 MAX operations closely as the aircraft resumes service. In parallel, and at our insistence, Boeing has also committed to work to enhance the aircraft still further in the medium term, in order to reach an even higher level of safety.

The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 following the second of two accidents within just six months, which together claimed 346 lives.

The root cause of these tragic accidents was traced to software known as the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), intended to make the plane easier to handle. However, the MCAS, guided by only one Angle of Attack (AoA) sensor, kicked in repeatedly if that sensor malfunctioned, pushing the nose of the aircraft downward multiple times. In both accidents, pilots finally lost control of their plane, resulting in a crash with total loss of aircraft.

In the days after the grounding, EASA set four conditions for the return to service of the aircraft:

- The two accidents (JT610 and ET302) are deemed sufficiently understood;

- Design changes proposed by Boeing to address the issues highlighted by the accidents are EASA approved and their embodiment is mandated;

- An independent extended design review has been completed by EASA; and

- Boeing 737 MAX flight crews have been adequately trained.

These four conditions have now all been met, allowing us to go ahead with the return to service, Ky said.

While the investigations assessed that the behaviour of the MCAS and related alerting systems were the clear main cause of the two crashes, EASA rapidly realised that a far wider review of the 737 MAX was needed. EASA therefore extended its analysis to the entire flight control system. With a particular focus on the human factors the actual experience for a pilot of flying the plane.

This extended review, conducted in close cooperation with FAA as primary certification authority, and with Boeing as manufacturer, continued to evolve over the course of the 20-month exercise. Its findings led to the definition of the broad package of actions specified in the Airworthiness Directive.

The mandated actions need to be seen as a complete package which together ensure the aircrafts safety, Ky said. This is not just about changes to the design of the aircraft: every individual 737 MAX pilot needs to undergo a once-off special training, including simulator training, to ensure that they are fully familiar with the redesigned 737 MAX and trained to handle specific scenarios which may arise in flight. This will be reinforced by recurrent training to ensure the knowledge is kept fresh.

EASA has also agreed with Boeing that the manufacturer will work to even further increase the resilience of the aircraft systems to AoA sensor failures so as to further enhance the safety of the aircraft. Boeing will also conduct a complementary Human Factor assessment of its crew alerting system within the next 12 months, with the aim of identifying the need for longer term improvements.

Resumption of Boeing 737 MAX Flights in Europe

The Airworthiness Directive, which details the aircraft and operational suitability changes, including crew training requirements, must be carried out before each individual plane returns to service, gives the green light from the EASA side for a return to service of the aircraft.

However, scheduling of these mandated actions is a matter for the aircraft operators, under the oversight of Member States national aviation authorities, meaning that the actual return to service may take some time. COVID-19 may also have an influence on the pace of return to commercial operations.

In conjunction with the Airworthiness Directive, EASA also issued a Safety Directive (SD) requiring non-European airlines which are holders of EASA third country operator (TCO) authorisation to implement equivalent requirements, including aircrew training. This will allow for the return to service of the 737 MAX when the aircraft concerned are operated under an EASA TCO authorisation into, within or out of the territory of the EASA Member States.

In summary, the EASA Airworthiness Directive mandates the following main actions:

- Software updates for the flight control computer, including the MCAS;

- Software updates to display an alert in case of disagreement between the two AoA sensors;

- Physical separation of wires routed from the cockpit to the stabiliser trim motor;

- Updates to flight manuals: operational limitations and improved procedures to equip pilots to understand and manage all relevant failure scenarios

- Mandatory training for all 737 MAX pilots before they fly the plane again, and updates of the initial and recurrent training of pilots on the MAX;

- Tests of systems including the AoA sensor system; and

- An operational readiness flight, without passengers, before commercial usage of each aircraft to ensure that all design changes have been correctly implemented and the aircraft successfully and safely brought out of its long period of storage.

EASA, and regulators in Canada and Brazil, worked closely with the FAA and Boeing throughout the last 20 months to return the plane safely to operations. The three authorities have already approved the aircraft for the return to service.

The EASA AD requires the same physical changes to the aircraft as the FAA, meaning that there will be no software or technical differences between the aircraft operated by the United States operators and by the EASA member states operators (the 27 European Union members plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

Following the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the UK Civil Aviation Authority is now responsible for clearing the aircraft to operate to/from and within the U.K as well as for U.K. operators.

However, EASAs requirements differ from the FAA in two main respects. EASA explicitly allows flight crews to intervene to stop a stick shaker from continuing to vibrate once it has been erroneously activated by the system, to prevent this distracting the crew. EASA also, for the time being, mandates that certain types of high-precision landings cannot be performed. The latter is expected to be a short-term restriction. The mandated training for pilots is broadly the same for both authorities.

Some EASA member states issued their own decision prohibiting the operation of the 737 MAX last year for their sovereign airspace. These bans will need to be lifted before the aircraft can fly again in the airspace of those countries.

See latest Travel Industry News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, EASA, Boeing, 737 MAX.

Headlines: Rolls-Royce's All-Electric Spirit of Innovation Aircraft Takes Off for First Time  Rosewood Signs Residential Project in Lido Key, Florida  Etihad Airways Signs New Multi-Solution Technology Agreement with Sabre  Emirates to Recruit 3,500 Cabin Crew and Airport Services Employees  Susan Wheatley Returns to UK as DOSM of The Peninsula London  Air New Zealand and Airbus to Research Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft in Aotearoa  Nihat Yucel Joins Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano as GM  Phoenix Police Department Orders Five Airbus H125 Helicopters  Six Senses to Take Over Management of Luxury Resort in Maldives  CWT to Recapitalize Business  Lufthansa Group Signs Extensive New Distribution Agreement with Travelport  Pan Pacific Opens First Hotel in UK as UOL Completes One Bishopsgate Plaza  British Airways to Launch Flights to Azorean Islands of Sao Miguel and Terceira  Changi Renews ACI's Airport Health Accreditation  GlobalData Reports Decline in Travel and Tourism Sector Deals in August  Hotel Group in Cambodia Makes COVID19 Test Mandatory for Every Guest  Hyatt Signs Luxury Hotel in Changsha, China  Marriott Adds Domes of Corfu in Greece to Autograph Collection  Emirates Expands Virtual Reality Experiences to the Oculus Store  Swedish Project to Establish Technical Roadmap Towards Fossil-Free Aviation  Etihad Airways Signs Multi-Solution Technology Agreement with Amadeus  Bombardier Unveils New Version of Challenger 350  MQ-25 T1 Refuels U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II Fighter Jet for First Time  Mandarin Oriental Signs Property on Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills  Breeze Airways Increases A220-300 Order to 80; Unveils Livery  IATA Appoints Philip Goh as Regional Vice President - Asia Pacific  Plaza Premium Signs First Airport Lounge in Japan  Industry Must Prioritize Collaboration and Experimentation to Advance NDC Adoption  Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Sets Goal of Net Zero Emissions by 2050  Elbit Systems to Strengthen Naval Defence of Asia Pacific Country  Langham Opens Luxury Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia  QantasLink Launches Direct Flights Between Adelaide and Townsville  Hong Kong Int. Airport Handled 222,000 Passengers in August  Rosewood Signs Luxury Hotel in San Francisco, USA  Michael Grande Joins Four Seasons Hotel Seattle as Executive Chef  Etihad Airways Upgrades Verified to Fly Service  Cascade Affiliate to Buy Controlling Stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts  TSA Doubles Fines on Travellers Who Refuse to Mask  Emirates to Expand Use of Biometrics and Self-Service Kiosks  Jumeirah to Open Luxury Resort in Maldives on 1 October  United Airlines and Honeywell Invest in Alder's Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)  Emirates to Resume Flights to Saudi Arabia  CWT Retains EcoVadis Platinum Status for Responsible Business Practices  SITA Achieves CarbonNeutral Company Certification  Sabre to Support Biman's Digital Transformation  Ascott Buys More Student Accommodation in USA  Real-World Data Shows Extremely Low Infection Rate on COVID19-Tested Flights  Air Astana Increases Flights to Kyiv and Istanbul  VistaJet's Cabin Hostess Training Now Includes First Aid for Pets  British Airways Launches BA Better World Sustainability Programme  Dassault Aviation in Moscow for RUBAE 2021  Airbus and Alstom to Improve Rail Transport Cybersecurity  IHG Takes Over Management of Hotel in Little India, Singapore  Plaza Premium to Transform Passenger Experience at BLR Airport in India  Thai AirAsia Flights to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai Prove Most Popular  SITA to Integrate Iridium Certus Satellit into UAC Portfolio  CWT Integrates Amadeus' Selling Platform Connect into European Service Hubs  Debbie Kristiansen Returns to Bahrain as GM of New Exhibition & Convention Centre  Air Canada Rouge Resumes Flights  US Army Takes Delivery of First Airbus UH-72B Lakota Helicopter  Marriott Opens 8th W Hotel in China  Lufthansa First Airline in Europe to Fly Airbus' New Single-Aisle Airspace Cabin  Banwa Private Island in Philippines Partners Ascent for Luxury Transfers by Air  Steve Carroll and David Ling Join CBRE Hotels & Hospitality - Asia Pacific  Korean Air to Buy Carbon-Neutral Jet Fuel from SK Energy  Deutsche Hospitality Expands Steigenberger Brand to Doha, Qatar  Turkish Aerospace Awarded Two Boeing-Related Contracts by Spirit AeroSystems  Travelport Launches Global Accelerator Program in Collaboration with AWS  Eve and Microflite to Develop Urban Air Mobility Services in Australia  Priority Pass Reports Increase in Airport Lounge Visits  QantasLink Starts Upgrading Inflight Entertainment  Saab to Upgrade Belgium's Air Traffic Control with Digital Towers  Emirates to Take Delivery of Last Brand New A380 in November  Success for Phuket Raceweek 2021  SAS Appoints Head of Media Relations in Denmark  Air Mauritius Appoints APG as GSA in Germany, Italy and Switzerland  Asia-Pacific Airlines' July Int. Traffic Down 94.2% on July 2019  FCM Partners NSF Engagement for JV in Japan  British Airways Reopens Concorde Room at JFK and London Heathrow  Griffin Orders 5 Boeing 737-8 Aircraft  CWT Meetings & Events Appoints Ian Cummings as Global Head  Behind the Scenes of Emirates Airline's Latest Ad - We're on Top of the World  Kazakhstan Orders Two Airbus A400M Aircraft  Executive Appointments at Elbit Systems  Capella Bangkok Opens 2 Verandah Suites and 6 Riverfront Villas  Air Astana to Trial IATA Travel Pass on Nur-Sultan - Istanbul Flights  Jet2 Orders 36 Airbus A321neo Aircraft  Strong Air Cargo Demand Continues in July  Bill Courtney Joins CWT as EVP and CFO  Marriott Opens First Le Meridien Resort in Maldives  Executive Appointments at Emirates  Minor Hotels Signs Third Anantara Resort in Bali, Indonesia  Bill LaPeer Joins CWT as VP of Enterprise Vertical Sales  Shadi Suleman Returns to Qatar as GM of Four Seasons Hotel Doha  Melia Chiang Mai Appoints Director of F&B and Executive Chef  Bangkok Airways to Resume Five Routes  Qatar to Host Biennial Geneva Motor Show from 2023  Plaza Premium to Open Airport Lounge at GRU in Sao Paulo, Brazil  Embraer Opens Office in Budapest, Hungary  Thailand Added to UK's Red List  Singapore Airlines Launches Upcycling Project and Competition with SUTD  Air Astana Takes Delivery of Sixth Airbus A321LR  Malaysia Airlines Upgrades Enrich Loyalty Programme  EU Digital COVID Certificate Should Serve as Blueprint for Other Nations  Bombardier Delivers Fifth Jet for Saab's GlobalEye Surveillance Solution  W Hotel Opens in Philadelphia, USA  Etihad Engineering Partners IAI for Passenger to Freighter Conversions  How's Business in Cambodia? Video Interview with Richard Dusome, MD - Dara Hotels  Puri Hiranprueck (ภูริ หิรัญพฤกษ์) Promotes Family's Private Island Near Phuket  Six Senses Offers Guests Luggage Free Travel  HD Videos and Interviews  Podcasts from HD Video Interviews  RSS News Feed and Ticker  Travel Trade Shows in 2020 and 2021  High-Res Picture Galleries  Travel News Asia - Latest Travel Industry News 

Receive our Latest Travel News Daily Email free of charge by entering your email address and name in the boxes to the right and clicking subscribe. You can also receive the news by WhatsApp, stay updated with our RSS Feed Travel Industry News by TravelNewsAsia.com, and even Add the Headlines to Your Website free of charge. Have questions? Please read our travel news FAQ.

     
Advertising
Advertising
Copyright © 1997-2021 TravelNewsAsia.com