U.S. moves closer to 737 Max OK

Chicago Sun-Times - - BUSINESS - BY DAVID KOENIG AP Air­lines Writer

Fed­eral safety reg­u­la­tors are mov­ing closer to let­ting the grounded Boe­ing 737 Max fly again with changes that Boe­ing made to the plane af­ter two deadly crashes.

The Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion said Tues­day that “in the near fu­ture” it will is­sue a pro­posed safety di­rec­tive for the plane. The agency gave no in­di­ca­tion, how­ever, of when it might lift its March 2019 or­der that grounded the plane.

The FAA said it would al­low 45 days for pub­lic com­ment on Boe­ing’s pro­posed changes to the plane and pi­lot-train­ing pro­ce­dures to ad­dress prob­lems found dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the crashes in In­done­sia and Ethiopia, which to­gether killed 346 peo­ple.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have fo­cused on a flight­con­trol sys­tem, new to the Max, that pushed the nose of both planes down based on faulty readings from sen­sors.

The FAA said post­ing the pro­posed air­wor­thi­ness di­rec­tive is an “im­por­tant mile­stone,” but a “num­ber of key steps re­main” be­fore pas­sen­gers are al­lowed back on Max jets. Boe­ing and the FAA re­cently flew a se­ries of test flights.

Nearly 400 Max jets were in ser­vice around the world when they were grounded, and since then Boe­ing has built sev­eral hun­dred more that have stacked up at com­pany fa­cil­i­ties.

JA­SON REDMOND/AFP VIA GETTY IM­AGES

A Boe­ing 737 MAX jet takes a test flight in June.

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