The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced on Friday that it has completed test flights designed to help determine if the currently grounded Boeing 737 MAX is ready to return to service. The evaluation flights took place in Vancouver, Canada, due to travel restrictions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to EASA, data gathered during testing is now being analyzed in preparation for a Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) review scheduled to start next week.
“EASA has been working steadily, in close cooperation with the FAA and Boeing, to return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service as soon as possible, but only once we are convinced it is safe,” the agency said in a statement.
The JOEB, which will evaluate minimum pilot training requirements for the 737 MAX, includes regulators from Canada, Europe and Brazil. As previously reported by AVweb, the FAA completed its own recertification test flights on the MAX last July. The MAX was grounded in March 2019 following the fatal accidents of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, and Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct. 29, 2018.