The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reiterated calls for regulators to collaborate and work towards the same timeline when re-certifying the return to service and training requirements of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX.
The industry body held a second summit on the 737 MAX in Montreal on Thursday (Canadian time) of more than 40 airlines, safety regulatory authorities, original equipment manufacturers, training organisations, aviation-related associations and aircraft lessors. The first summit was held on May 23.
IATA director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement after the meeting the two 737 MAX tragedies weighed heavily on an industry that held safety as its top priority.
“We trust the Federal Aviation Administration, in its role as the certifying regulator, to ensure the aircraft’s safe return to service,” de Juniac said. “And we respect the duty of regulators around the world to make independent decisions on FAA’s recommendations.”
“At the same time, aviation is a globally integrated system that relies on global standards, including mutual recognition, trust, and reciprocity among safety regulators.
“This harmonized structure has worked successfully for decades to help make air travel the safest form of long distance travel the world has known.
“Aviation cannot function efficiently without this coordinated effort, and restoring public confidence demands it.”
The gathering came hot on the heels of of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealing it had found a flaw in Boeing’s sofware fix for the aircraft.
— The FAA (@FAANews) June 26, 2019
An unidentified Boeing official told US broadcaster, CNBC on Thursday fixing the flaw would require several additional months of work, making it unlikely that the aircraft would be back in service before the middle of October, as the “fixes include both the previously identified issues with the Manouvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software as well as the recently disclosed software issue”.
Meanwhile, NBC reported that a source close to the investigation said FAA pilots found the updated MCAS took too long before allowing the pilots to recover control of the plane.
“Boeing has traced the issue to a microprocessor and how the chip handles data,” NBC News reported.
It said Boeing believed it could address the issue with a software code update.
The airframer began updating the software after the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 in Indonesia October 2018.
Then, in March 2019, the 737 MAX fleet was grounded globally after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed on March 10.
The two tragedies killed 346 people.