International regulators delay approval of B737 MAX

FAA today signed that paves the way for the Boeing B737 MAX to return to commercial service

FAA today signed that paves the way for the Boeing B737 MAX to return to commercial service

Global regulators are delaying approval of the Boeing B737 MAX despite a decision by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to end its 20-month suspension, highlighting changes in the global regulatory hierarchy caused by the double accident of the North American plane, according to Reuters.

In March 2019, when the second B737 MAX crash in five months brought the death toll in the Boeing model to 346, China quickly suspended the plane, sparking a cascade of flight bans around the world. The East-to-West announcements highlighted China’s growing influence in aerospace and global affairs.

Now, however, the approval process by foreign regulators is expected to take days, weeks or months as they verify the FAA’s task and impose their own conditions for the aircraft’s return to service.

In the past, regulators immediately followed the lead of the FAA , which for decades has been credited with pioneering aviation safety. But many are now wary of appearing to back their lead after the US agency was accused of lax oversight.

Canada and Brazil, two major aircraft manufacturing nations in the industry, are expected to back the FAA’s decision in a few weeks. But both said Wednesday they weren’t ready to decide yet.

According to Reuters, many analysts believe that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which oversees Airbus, is emerging stronger from the crisis . It has been closely involved in researching changes to the B737 MAX and is expected to carry more weight in the inspection of future projects like Boeing’s B777X, while the FAA may do the same for Airbus jets.

Industry sources, reported by Reuters, say EASA could issue its approval order next week , followed by a 30-day comment period. But there will be some differences between what the FAA approved and what Europe and Canada will require for their airlines. Canada, one of the last major nations before the US to immobilize the B737 MAX, has faced criticism for following its ally.

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