The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed on Tuesday that it is close to publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Airworthiness directive for the Boeing 737 MAX. The objective, according to the agency, is to make the aircraft re-certification process more transparent by allowing the public to comment on proposals for changes to the project made to mitigate safety problems after two fatal accidents.
Without stating a date, the FAA said it would issue the order “in the near future” and that it would be available to the public for 45 days. This means that the return of the 737 MAX to the operation will not occur before October at best.
“The FAA will not speculate when the work will be completed. The agency continues to follow a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work. We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards,” said the agency.
In addition to this procedure, the US civil aviation authority revealed that there are several steps yet to be completed before re-certifying the Boeing jet. Among them are the revision of the training plan for pilots by the standardization of the Flight Council and Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB), with the participation of the authorities of Canada, Europe and Brazil.
Only then will the FAA publish the final FSB report in addition to reviewing the documentation prepared by Boeing. The agency will then publish the final Airworthiness Directive (AD) which will inform the necessary corrective measures before the 737 MAX returns to commercial service.
The next step will be to terminate the grounding order, as long as the operators comply with the AD and carry out the training of the crew. The FAA has reiterated that it will continue to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates for all new 737 MAX airplanes since the beginning of the grounding.
With this schedule in mind, it is believed that most of the 737 MAX fleet should not return to service until the beginning of 2021.