The US Federal Aviation Administration is proposing key changes to all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 planes before they will be allowed to fly again.
The agency has released an early version of its new airworthiness directive for the public to review. The document calls for a mixture of software upgrades, new pre-flight safety procedures for pilots, and the installation of new equipment.
The FAA will launch a 45-day public consultation period into the proposals. If accepted, the proposed airworthiness directive would be a legally enforceable federal regulation, that would mandate the changes required before MAX planes are allowed to return to commercial flights.
Boeing MAX airliners have been banned from flying since March 2019, after 346 people died in two separate crashes involving a MAX 8 aircraft.
A statement released on the FAA’s website on Monday reads in part, “This proposed AD (airworthiness directive) would require installing new flight control computer software, revising the existing Airplane Flight Manual to incorporate new and revised flight crew procedures, installing new MAX display system software, [and] changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations.”
The changes were announced nearly 17 months since the global grounding of all MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft, following the two crashes – Lion Air near Jakarta, Indonesia, and Ethiopian Airlines outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Cayman Airways owns three Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, two of which are in a storage facility in the US, with the other in a hangar at the Owen Roberts International Airport. A fourth plane has been ordered but has not yet been built.
The FAA said the directive will be available for public consultation, once it has been published in the Federal Registry, at which time members of the aviation industry and the public are being invited to provide feedback on the proposed changes, as well as to submit any ideas they believe could increase the safety of the planes.
“The FAA invites you to participate in this rule-making by submitting written comments, data, or views about this proposal,” the directive reads. “The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data.”
To view the proposed changes, click here.