By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A training review for the grounded Boeing <BA.N> 737 MAX will begin on Monday in London, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, in a key milestone for the plane’s eventual return to service.
The FAA said the Joint Operations Evaluation Board for the Boeing 737 MAX will take place at London Gatwick Airport and meet for approximately nine days “to review Boeing’s proposed training for 737 MAX flight crews” and will include civil aviation authorities and airline flight crews from the United States, Canada, Brazil and the European Union.
There are several other key steps to be completed that raise questions about if there will be any 737 MAX commercial flights before 2021.
Boeing did not immediately comment.
This week in Vancouver, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency conducted flight tests of the Boeing 737 MAX after Canada conducted its own tests.
The best-selling plane has been grounded globally since March 2019 after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people.
Boeing has said it expects to win necessary approvals “in time to support resumption of deliveries during the fourth quarter.”
A Boeing spokesman said Friday all remaining steps are “incorporated in our estimate. Not new hurdles or comment periods we didn’t expect.”
After the nine-day review, the results will be incorporated into the draft FAA Flight Standardization Board report, which will be then be open for public comment.
Then, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will undergo recommended training and conduct an evaluation flight at the controls of a Boeing 737 MAX. He will share observations with FAA technical staff.
The FAA will then review Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with FAA regulations. The multi-agency technical advisory board will review the Boeing submission and issue a report prior to a final FAA determination of compliance.
The FAA will then issue a notice of pending significant safety actions and publish a final directive addressing known issues for grounding and advises operators of required corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service.
Then the FAA plans to rescind the grounding order.
The FAA will retain authority to issue airworthiness and export certificates for all 737 MAX airplanes manufactured since the grounding and will perform in-person, individual reviews of these aircraft.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Alistair Bell)