New York: Boeing must perform more work on a proposed fix to its 737 MAX aircraft before it can be submitted for review, US officials said Monday, suggesting the planes could stay grounded a while longer.
Additional work is needed ‘to ensure that Boeing has identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues’, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman said in a statement. “The FAA will not approve the software for installation until the agency is satisfied with the submission,” added the spokespersons.
The FAA statement is the bureaucratic equivalent of a ‘stop’ sign after Boeing officials touted their proposed remedy last week during a media tour at the company’s manufacturing plant in Seattle, Washington.
It should be mentioned here that Boeing’s 737 MAX planes were grounded globally last month following the second of two deadly crashes to occur in less than five months. Scrutiny has centered on an anti-stall system developed specifically for the planes that has given pilots problems.
Boeing last week gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters at its Renton, Washington manufacturing site for a presentation on proposed changes to the ‘Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System’ (MCAS), which is believed to have been a key factor in the Ethiopian Airline crash and in an October accident of a Lion Air in Indonesia that killed 189 people.
Among the changes Boeing said, the MCAS will no longer repeatedly make corrections when the pilot tries to regain control, and will automatically disconnect in the event of disagreements between the two ‘angle of attack’, or AOA sensors, the company had then said.
Boeing is anxious to win approval for a proposed remedy that could get the planes back in the air. But the FAA said it expected Boeing to submit the proposed fix ‘over the coming weeks’ after it undertakes additional work. After that, the proposal will be submitted to a ‘rigorous safety review’, the FAA spokesman said. Earlier in the day a Boeing spokesman said the company was continuing to work with regulators to address concerns.