Boeing's 737 Max Cleared for Takeoff After Fatal CrashesBy MBN Staff | Wed, 11/18/2020 - 10:03
Boeing's 737 Max can now fly again. The 20-month flight ban ended for the Boeing 737 Max after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued an order approving the plane for passenger flights once again. This marks the first step for Aeroméxico, Interjet, Viva Aerobus and Volaris to fly these planes after their grounding back in early 2019.
Airlines, however, may opt to switch to brands like Airbus, after orders made in the months following Boeing’s ban. By the end of 2018, almost six out of every 10 aircraft with more than 100 seats operated by Interjet, Aeroméxico, Volaris and Viva Aerobus were Airbus, according to data from the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC). Ten years before that, the ratio was 1 in 10. At that time (2008), Boeing 737s accounted for 48 percent of the number of aircraft owned by local airlines.
According to Grupo Aeromexico's 3Q20 report, its operating fleet comprised 101 aircraft excluding the six Boeing 737 MAX temporarily grounded. This airline was one of the most affected by the Boeing grounding since, at the time of the suspension, the company had 54 aircraft pending delivery. The six 737 MAX that were already in its fleet were used in the Mexico City-Lima and Mexico City-Bogota routes.
The 737 Max was grounded in March 2019 after two accidents that killed 346 people. During the investigations it was discovered that a safety device designed to prevent the plane from climbing too fast and stopping had forced the nose of both planes downwards, leading to their crashes. These incidents and the subsequent suspension have cost Boeing more than US$20 billion, according to the company.
The FAA order, which is only valid for the US, states that before aircraft can be flown with passengers again, the required changes to the aircraft must be made, in addition to individual inspections and specialized training for pilots. "The path that led us to this point was long and grueling," pointed out Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator, in a statement today. "But we said from the start that we would take the time necessary to get this right. We were never driven by a timeline, but rather following a methodical and deliberate safety process. During this time, FAA employees diligently worked on the fixes that were necessary."