The Boeing 737 Max is now safe and can fly back to Europe as well. Twenty-two months after the global blockade after the double accident in Indonesia and Ethiopia, EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, announces in a note that it has given the green light to return to service in the Old Continent of the 737 Max. decision comes after the green light of the counterparts of the USA, Brazil and Canada. “After an in-depth analysis by EASA, we have established that the aircraft can safely return to service,” explains in the official statement Patrick Ky, EASA executive director. Specifying: “This assessment was done independently by Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration (the US federal aviation body, ed) and without any economic or political pressure “.
The double accident
The global shutdown of the 737 Max – Boeing’s latest generation single-aisle aircraft designed to counter European rival Airbus A320neo on short and medium flights – occurred after the crash on March 10, 2019, near Addis Ababa of flight ET302 of Ethiopian Airlines (157 victims). The second crash immediately after take-off after the one, on 29 October 2018, off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia, when another Lion Air Boeing 737 Max with 189 people on board also sank immediately after take-off. An American parliamentary commission ruled that “Boeing hid the design flaws,” adding that there were “errors, omissions and negligence” that also involved the regulatory body Faa.
The attention of the investigators, in both the incidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia, was focused on the “Mcas”, the anti-stall computer system that received information from a single external sensor to restore the nose of the aircraft to the right level in case of need. But in both flights – it was later discovered in the two investigations – that sensor received incorrect data leading the software to act accordingly and in a dangerous way, causing the 737 Max to crash shortly after take-off. The pilots tried to recover altitude, but those of Lion Air did not even know of the existence of the Mcas, while those in Ethiopia knew the system, but this required such physical strength that it would have been impossible for the pilots to bring up the nose.
In allowing the service in Europe again, the continental aviation safety agency clarifies – also providing several documents – that the green light comes after having imposed a package of software updates, as well as interventions on the electrical system and maintenance. All this is accompanied by the updates of the flight manuals and with precise rules on the training of pilots for a safe take-off. The 737 Max has already returned to service in the Americas: at the end of last year those of American Airlines, the Mexican Aeromexico, the Panamanian Copa Airlines, the Canadian WestJet and the Brazilian Gol took off. In the next three months it will also be the turn of Air Canada, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines. In Europe, Ryanair recently bought another 75, bringing the order to 210.
«We will never forget the victims of the two tragic accidents – explains Boeing in a note -. These events and the lessons we learned from them have redesigned our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity ». The interventions, however, do not stop there. “We continue to work with EASA – continues the American aerospace giant -, its member states, other global regulators and our customers to safely bring the 737-8 and 737-9 back into service all over the world”. The wording “Max” still remains a mystery: it will be seen in the coming months whether it stays or disappears from the planes.
The European green light comes on the day when the stop at the 737 Max in March 2019 and the delays in the development of the 777X weigh significantly on Boeing’s accounts. The company closed 2020 with a red of 11.9 billion dollars. In the last quarter (October-December) of last year, the aerospace giant claims to have lost 8.4 billion dollars after setting aside 6.5 billion for the 777X project, the double-aisle aircraft that should take the place of the Boeing 747 and which is now expected to be delivered by the end of 2023. It is the second negative year for the Seattle company after the 636 million losses recorded in 2019, in that case only due to the consequences of the 737 Max.