The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has declared the Boeing 737 MAX is “safe” and is predicting the type will return to revenue service before the end of the year in the countries of the European Union. EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told Bloomberg it still wants Boeing to add a third AOA sensor to the MAX, but in the meantime the changes made in the last 20 months to its flight control systems are enough. “Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us,” Ky told Bloomberg. “What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”
The plane can’t be flown until the FAA signs off on it and the agency has set no timeline but it’s expected in the next few weeks. EASA officials flew the revised MAX in Vancouver in September and concluded the software changes focused on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and the training regimen for new MAX pilots will fix the control issues that ultimately led to the deaths of 346 people in two crashes in late 2018 and early 2019. FAA officials flew the MAX in August and Administrator Steve Dickson flew it in September. Dickson had positive, but not definitive, comments on its future return to service. EASA is getting ready for the FAA nod, getting all the paperwork in order in advance of the official word.