European civil aviation agency EASA announced on Friday that it had completed test flights with the 737 Max equipped with modifications carried out by Boeing to correct safety issues that have forced the aircraft to be grounded since March 2019.
The test flights took place in Vancouver, Canada, due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, the agency said. The FAA and the Canadian Department of Transportation, however, flew from Moses Lake airport in Washington, USA.
“As the next step in its evaluation of the aircraft for return to service, EASA is now analyzing the data and other information gathered during the flights in preparation for the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB). The JOEB is scheduled to start next week in London, Gatwick in the United Kingdom,” EASA said in a short statement.
Civil aviation agencies in the US, Canada, Europe and Brazil have formed a joint committee that assesses the changes received by the 737 Max to prevent similar situations from occurring that led to the crash of two model aircraft in 2018 and 2019 and which caused the death of 346 people.
The expectation now is that ANAC, the Brazilian civil aviation agency, also conducts some test flights in the coming days. There is, however, no announced deadline for returning the jet to service.
Some 737 Max customers have estimated that Boeing will receive certification of the model in October and that in December they will be able to put it back into operation.
EASA, however, guarantees that this will only happen when the US manufacturer proves that the changes are satisfactory. “EASA has been working steadily, in close cooperation with the FAA and Boeing, to return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service as soon as possible, but only once we are convinced it is safe.”