The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday cleared the way for Boeing’s 737 Max to resume flying, 20 months after it was grounded following two fatal crashes blamed on faulty software and a host of company and government failures.
The decision ends a devastating saga for Boeing, which had predicted billion of dollars in losses stemming from the Max crisis even before the coronavirus pandemic dealt a ruinous blow to global aviation. The agency’s chief, Stephen Dickson, signed an orderWednesday formally lifting the grounding.
“The path that led us to this point was long and grueling, but we said from the start that we would take the time necessary to get this right,” he said in a video message“I am 100 percent comfortable with my family flying on it.”
The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019 when the F.A.A. joined regulators in dozens of other countries in banning the plane after the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed all 346 people on board.
“We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations,” Boeing CEO David Calhoun said, in a statement released Wednesday morning. “These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”
In September, an investigative report from the House of Representatives blamed the plane manufacture and the FAA for “repeated and serious failures.”
The crashes “were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA — the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA with respect to its responsibilities to perform robust oversight of Boeing and to ensure the safety of the flying public,”the congressional report says
Boeing said in a statement after the report’s release that it is “dedicated to doing the work” necessary.