Boeing 737 Max Cleared to Resume Flight After 20-Month Grounding

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Boeing 737 Max Cleared to Resume Flight After 20-Month Grounding” – below is their description.

Boeing Co.’s 737 Max is back. It will be flying in a very different world than the one it left some 20 months ago. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the Max to resume commercial flights on Wednesday, ending a grounding order that was put in place after the once top-selling jet suffered a pair of fatal crashes. European regulators are expected to follow suit in coming weeks. This is a major milestone for Boeing and a turning point for a company that somehow repeatedly managed to make an already devastating crisis worse for itself — remember the overly ambitious timelines for the Max’s return? Financially, securing the FAA’s blessing will allow the company to finally make money off the roughly 450 Max jets it has built but not yet delivered because of the grounding order. These days, though, getting regulators’ approval is only half the battle for Boeing. The company is also contending with a global pandemic that’s made airlines more prone to cut back their orders than to take new planes. Nearly a quarter of the 450 Max jets in storage are “white tails” — planes whose original buyers have backed out, so their tails are unmarked by airline logos — Bloomberg News reported. In total, more than 1,000 Max jet orders have either been canceled this year or deemed doubtful under accounting rules. For those airlines that already have Max jets, there will be a lag before the planes actually ferry passengers. Many have been parked in the desert and need to be brought back into flying condition. The airlines also have to implement the FAA’s required upgrades and retrain pilots. The Max’s biggest operator, Southwest Airlines Co., has said it expects this process to take three to four months and isn’t planning on using the jet for passenger flights until at least the second quarter of 2021. Your first chance may come with American Airlines Group Inc., which has said it will fly the Max on a Miami-New York route starting on Dec. 29. What better way to close out 2020. The natural question, after the longest grounding of an aircraft in modern U.S. history, is whether the plane is safe. The answer is yes, in part because this has been the longest grounding and also because the FAA’s mandated fixes go beyond the specifics of the software that was blamed for the catastrophes. This software — called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) — was originally added to the Max to guard against an aerodynamic stall, but it instead repeatedly forced the planes to nosedive and set off a cacophony of alerts that overwhelmed the pilots. Boeing will now make the system dependent on two sensors, rather than just one, to avoid erroneous readings. MCAS also will only activate once, reducing the amount of power the system can exert on the nose of the plane. 1 The FAA is also requiring a broader overhaul of the plane’s computers to improve reliability and separate bundles of electrical wiring that had the potential to short circuit. Whatever the risks were around this airplane, it seems likely that the FAA has found and evaluated them at this point. Why the agency didn’t do this in the first place is a different question that features prominently in a congressional push for reforms to the FAA’s relationship with the companies it oversees. The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation that requires an independent expert panel to review Boeing’s safety culture; extends whistleblower protections to manufacturing employees; and gives the FAA more oversight over company workers who conduct delegated certification work, among other things. A similar bill is being considered by the Senate’s Commerce Committee. Boeing has already indicated that the approval process for its 777X widebody jet is taking longer than it had previously expected amid the heightened scrutiny and the pandemic. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2TwO8Gm Bloomberg Quicktake brings you live global news and original shows spanning business, technology, politics and culture. Make sense of the stories changing your business and your world. To watch complete coverage on Bloomberg Quicktake 24/7, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/qt/live, or watch on Apple TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Fire TV and Android TV on the Bloomberg app. Connect with us on… YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bloomberg Breaking News on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BloombergQuickTakeNews Twitter: https://twitter.com/quicktake Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/quicktake Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/quicktake

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