It’s about time we talk about the 737MAX – the roller coaster of hopes and optimism that it has been building for several months now. After fifteen months since Boeing’s best-selling aircraft was grounded, it is finally ever so close to get the 737MAX flying again. The aircraft is now in testing phase, which is expected to conclude with the MAX being re-certified to fly passengers commercially. However, it is still safe to assume that it will take several more months till the aircraft is operated commercially.
Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst, Teal Group, stated:
“It’ll take several months, easily, to deal with the training and fixes. The COVID-19 situation will hobble the process a little bit. A couple of days before Thanksgiving is my bet for when it flies.”
So, What Now?
With a long history of over-optimism and ultimately, missed deadlines, neither Boeing nor the F.A.A (Federal Aviation Administration) are speculated to say much regarding when the beleaguered aircraft shall be approved to take to the skies again. A multitude of airlines have indicated that they shall not be planning on operating routes on the 737MAX until late 2020, at the earliest.
F.A.A. resumed test flights of the 737MAX about a week ago. The test flights are expected to continue in this week as well. Only when the agency is thoroughly satisfied, it could then provide Boeing with the much necessary clearance for the aircraft to fly commercially again. However, do not be mistaken, this shall only be the beginning. Most aviation agencies globally are likely to oversee the approval process for themselves before allowing the MAX to operate within their respective territories, which shall take another couple of months even after the F.A.A completes the recertification process.
Next up, Boeing shall have to resume maintenance and repairs for several aircraft. These include aircraft which have been grounded with several airlines, alongside the 400 or so aircraft that are parked in Boeing’s facility, which are yet to be delivered. Not only the safety features, but problems with the aircraft’s wiring and fuel tanks were also discovered in later investigations. Boeing will also have to proactively fix those.
Accordingly, Boeing stated in a recent report:
‘Boeing has already begun modifying [the wiring of] airplanes that have not yet been delivered and is coordinating modification efforts with the airlines. New airplanes being built will include this update as well.’
All this along with the simulator training for thousands of pilots globally, would mean that even when the MAX is ever so close to be ready to fly again, it is still miles away from the ultimate milestone!
When do you think will the MAX fly again? Let us know in the comments!