The Boeing 737 Max has been cleared to fly passengers again in the US, after two deadly crashes led to the deaths of nearly 350 people.
On 29 October 2018, a single faulty sensor triggered an anti-stall system that caused Lion Air flight 610 to crash shortly after take off from Jakarta. All 189 passengers and crew died.
Less than six months later, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was lost, along with 157 lives, in similar circumstances.
The plane was grounded worldwide shortly afterwards. But after a rigorous redesign and certification, it is likely to be flying passengers again in the US before the end of the year, after the Federal Aviation Administration gave approval on Wednesday.
The FAA administrator, Steve Dickson, rescinded the order that grounded the aircraft. Simultaneously the authority published an Airworthiness Directive specifying design changes that must be made before the aircraft returns to service. The FAA has also specified new pilot training requirements.
“These actions do not allow the Max to return immediately to the skies,” the authority’s statement read.
“The FAA must approve 737 Max pilot training programme revisions for each US airline operating the Max and will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all new 737 Max aircraft manufactured since the FAA issued the grounding order.
“Furthermore, airlines that have parked their Max aircraft must take required maintenance steps to prepare them to fly again.