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Singapore lifts suspension of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after technical assessment

Singapore lifts suspension of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after technical assessment

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, US, Jul 1, 2019. (File photo: REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson)

SINGAPORE: The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) lifted a suspension on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft flying in and out of the country from Monday (Sep 6).

The suspension was previously imposed in March 2019 in light of two fatal incidents involving the aircraft in less than five months.

In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet killed 157 people. In October 2018, a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 jet crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people.

The authority on Monday said: "CAAS made the decision to lift the restrictions after completing its technical assessment, which included an evaluation of the design changes to the aircraft made by Boeing and approved by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other validating authorities.

"CAAS also reviewed the operational data of flights of the aircraft that had resumed service over the past nine months and observed that there have been no notable safety issues."

The US lifted its flight ban on the Boeing 737 MAX in November 2020 after a 20-month review process. The FAA at the time also published an airworthiness directive specifying design changes - including installing new flight control and display system software - that must be made before the aircraft can return to service, as well as training requirements.

FLIGHT CREW TRAINING

To effect the lifting of the suspension, CAAS said it had issued a directive requiring Singapore air operators intending to fly the Boeing 737 MAX to comply with and implement all required actions stated in the FAA airworthiness directive and the CAAS directive.

"This includes establishing a flight crew training programme approved by CAAS that comprises ground and flight training elements specified in the FAA's special training for Boeing 737 MAX flight crew, with additional simulator training to ensure that pilots are adequately trained on workload management when handling aircraft emergencies," said the authority.

"In particular, Singapore Airlines must satisfy CAAS that it has complied with and implemented all the required actions stated" before its aircraft can return to service, the authority added.

Singapore Airlines has six Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, according to an advisory it issued in March 2019.

For foreign airlines intending to operate the aircraft into Singapore, they must comply with CAAS and FAA requirements, as well as other requirements of their respective civil aviation authorities, said the authority.

Aside from the US, other regulators that have lifted restrictions on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft include those of the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

"Aviation safety is paramount," said CAAS director-general Han Kok Juan.

"CAAS has taken extra care to assess, monitor and ensure that due diligence has been done and that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft can operate safely, before lifting restrictions on the aircraft operations into and out of Singapore."

Source: CNA/dv(rw)

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