PARIS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Boeing's grounded 737 MAX could
receive regulatory approval to resume flying in November and
enter service by the end of the year, Europe's chief aviation
safety regulator said on Friday.
"For the first time in a year and a half I can say there's
an end in sight to work on the MAX," said Patrick Ky, executive
director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
EASA expects to lift its technical ban "not long" after the
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), probably in
November, but national operational clearances needed for
individual airlines to resume flying in Europe could take
longer, he said.
"We are looking at November," he said when asked when the
technical ban would be lifted. China is expected to take longer
to give its own approval, he said, without elaborating.
Cologne-based EASA, which regulates air safety in 32 mainly
European Union countries, has locked horns with the FAA and
Boeing over the scope of an international review into 737 MAX
systems following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.
All but one of the differences has been resolved, he said,
with EASA, supported by some unions, calling for pilots to be
able to manually cut power to a "stick shaker" alarm system
suspected of distracting Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crew.
The main focus of the review has surrounded black-box
evidence that bad data from a single faulty flight-angle sensor
triggered a cockpit software system that repeatedly pointed the
aircraft's nose down and overwhelmed the crew on both flights.
Boeing has said inputs from both "angle of attack" sensors
on the MAX will be used in the modified aircraft, instead of
just one in the past, but EASA has called for a third
"synthetic" sensor to provide independently computed data.
Ky said Boeing had agreed to install the computerised
third-sensor system on the next version of the plane, the
230-seat 737 MAX 10, followed by retrofits on the rest of the
Turning to Boeing's next development, Ky said EASA would
examine the 400-seat 777X development "much more closely" than
it would have done if the MAX grounding had not happened and pay
particularly close attention to flight control systems.
(Reporting by Laurence Frost, Tim Hepher; editing by Toby
Chopra and Jason Neely)