FAA review of 737 Max could end as early as next week

The agency's chief says it's in the final stages of reviewing changes to Boeing's beleaguered aircraft.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
2 min read

The 737 Max family includes four versions of the aircraft. The Max 8 is the type that was involved in both crashes.


It's now been just over two years since the first crash of Boeing's 737 Max 8, but the grounded aircraft may be finally seeing the light of the end of the runway. Earlier this week, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said the agency's review of the airliner for recertification is almost complete.

"The Federal Aviation Administration is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed changes to the Boeing 737 MAX," he said in a statement sent to CNET. "We expect that this process will be finished in the coming days, once the agency is satisfied that Boeing has addressed the safety issues."

An FAA spokesman did not confirm a Reuters report that the process could be finalized by Nov. 18, but that date would fit earlier predictions that the FAA would finish its work by the end of this year.  The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March 2019, after two crashes, the first of which occurred in Indonesia in October 2018, killed 346 people. 

Boeing says it has now fixed the MCAS flight control system that was blamed for both accidents. In September, Dickson evaluated those changes when he piloted the Max on a test flight.

The agency's final step will be to confirm the list of changes Boeing needs to make to MCAS and to set new training procedures that Max pilots must complete. Only then will the FAA lift the grounding order (aviation safety agencies in Canada and the European Union are conducting their own reviews of the aircraft).

"The agency will take the time that it needs to thoroughly review the remaining work," Dickson said. "Even though we are near the finish line, I will lift the grounding order only after our safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards."

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