Boeing shares climb after regulator says 737 MAX ‘safe’

NEW YORK (AFP) – Boeing shares climbed on Friday following a report that the European air safety regulator is ready to allow the 737 MAX jet to return to the skies after its worldwide grounding.

Shares in the United States (US) aviation giant were was up 2.5 per cent around 1745 GMT after Executive Director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Patrick Ky told Bloomberg the plane could start flying before the end of the year.

The 737 MAX was grounded globally in 2019 after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people, plunging Boeing into crisis as the MAX underwent a lengthy review process.

Ky said Boeing would add a new sensor to the plane to prevent the types of problems that contributed to the crashes but that the plane could resume service even before that device is installed.

“Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us,” Ky said. “What we discussed with Boeing is the fact that with the third sensor, we could reach even higher safety levels.”

The EASA completed test flights on the plane in September and is expected to issue a draft airworthiness directive in November, after which there will be four weeks of public comment, Bloomberg reported.

The regulator also has asked Boeing to install a “synthetic sensor” that would aid pilots should they face a malfunction in the angle of attack sensors, which occurred in both crashes. Existing 737 MAX models will be retrofitted with the new technology.

The US Federal Aviation Administration also is working to return the plane to service, conducting test flights and releasing pilot training protocols for the aircraft earlier this month with a public comment period open through November 2.

A Boeing 737 MAX airliner lands following an evaluation flight at Boeing Field the in Seattle, Washington. PHOTO: AFP