Boeing’s 737 Max looks set to be given clearance to resume flying in Europe next week, the head of the EU Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) has intimated – almost two years after the aircraft was grounded.
The Max was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people.
The incidents were later traced to the aircraft’s anti-stall software, which is believed to have sent both flights into an irretrievable nosedive.
After publishing a draft airworthiness directive in November, Easa executive director Patrick Ky on Tuesday (19 January) said the agency expected to publish a final order next week, Reuters reports.
Separate certification will follow in the "coming weeks", said Ky, for a newer Max-200 variant of the aircraft.
Ryanair has more than 200 of the variant on order, and will be the first recipient of the new model which can accommodate up to 200 passengers.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Brazil’s aviation authorities cleared the Max to return to the skies in November, with Canada expected to do the same shortly too.
Earlier this month, Canada’s WestJet said – subject to validation by Transport Canada – that it would bring its grounded Maxs back into service before the end of the month.
From 21 January, it plans to use the aircraft to operate three roundtrip flights between Calgary and Toronto.