Boeing 737 MAX allowed to return to service only when safe to do so: CAAS

Boeing 737 MAX allowed to return to service only when safe to do so: CAAS

Boeing 737 MAX SilkAir
A SilkAir Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is parked on the tarmac of Changi International Airport in Singapore on Mar 12, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman) 

SINGAPORE: The Boeing 737 MAX will be allowed to return to service only when the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has assessed that it is safe to do so, said the aviation regulator on Friday (Dec 11).  

"We will need to be assured that all aspects of the safety of Boeing 737 MAX operations have been addressed," said CAAS' deputy director-general Mr Tay Tiang Guan in a statement to CNA.

Earlier this week, Brazilian airline GOL became the world's first carrier to fly the Boeing 737 MAX commercially since the worldwide grounding of the plane 20 months ago.

Boeing's best-selling jet was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes in five months killed a combined 346 people, marking the industry's worst safety crisis in decades.  

READ: US lifts Boeing 737 MAX flight ban after crash probes, tough hurdles remain

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month lifted the flight ban on the MAX following design changes and new training.

"The FAA’s airworthiness directive is an important milestone for the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX," said Mr Tay. 

"It is the outcome of the collaboration between international aviation regulators, including CAAS, over the course of the last one and a half years."

Mr Tay added that safety was CAAS' priority and that the aviation regulator was reviewing the directive. 

"We will factor in compliance with the airworthiness directive and any additional requirements that we may impose, before we lift the suspension on Boeing 737 MAX operations," he said.  

READ: Singapore grounds Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after 2 deadly crashes

As the aircraft will need to operate across borders, CAAS will also continue to work closely with relevant civil aviation authorities to ensure the Boeing 737 MAX’s safe return to service, Mr Tay added. 

In March 2019, CAAS ordered the temporary suspension of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Singapore in light of the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia

SilkAir is the only operator of the aircraft type in Singapore and has six of its units. 

With flights resuming, Boeing will be running a 24-hour war room to monitor all MAX flights for potential problems, from stuck landing gear to health emergencies. 

The FAA is also mandating new pilot training and software upgrades to deal with a stall-prevention system called MCAS, which in both crashes repeatedly shoved down the jet's nose as pilots struggled to regain control.

Source: CNA/ad(ac)

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