US 737 MAX test flight could be as soon as next week

NEW YORK (AFP) – United States (US) regulators are getting close to undertaking a test flight of Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX and could schedule the key step for as soon as next week, two sources said on Friday.

The long-delayed test flight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a critical step in recertifying the plane for service but the exact timing remains fluid, two people familiar with the matter told AFP.

The plane has been grounded globally since March 2019 following two deadly crashes.

Boeing has upgraded software for a flight handling system that was quickly identified as a major factor in crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes that together claimed 346 lives.

But the recertification of the jet has been delayed by subsequent issues identified by air safety regulators.