Months after a second deadly crash led to the plane's grounding worldwide, Boeing and U.S. regulators are still working to get the 737 MAX back in the skies. And now the troubled plane has hit another speed bump.
Citing two unnamed sources familiar with ongoing testing, CNN reports that Federal Aviation Administration officials have discovered a new flaw that could push back its return to flying.
Boeing and the FAA have been focused on correcting a software system that was designed to prevent the plane from stalling but is believed to have pulled down the 737 MAX in Indonesia last October and again in Ethiopia in March. The two crashes occurred shortly after takeoff, killing nearly 350 people combined.
But more than a month after Boeing announced it had fixed that software problem, simulator testing discovered that a microprocessor failure could cause the plane to nosedive again. It's unclear whether this issue was caused by the software fixes or if it's a longstanding problem. The microprocessors themselves may need to be replaced.
Boeing and the FAA both confirmed the new issue.
“Boeing will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service,” the jet manufacturer said in a statement.
Boeing and the three U.S. airlines with 737 MAXs in their fleet – American, Southwest, and United – had initially hoped to have the planes back in the skies by now.
But airlines have continually pushed their return date back from the early summer all the way into the fall. All three airlines have now delayed its return until at least September.
And this new development raises the possibility that the plane may not return to service until much later in 2019.
Despite big talk from Boeing and airline executives, it's clear that the Boeing 737 MAX has more issues to sort out before it returns to flying.
Lead photo courtesy of Victor via Flickr
My humble opinion is that this situation is the result of an abdication of responsibility by the government of its oversight role. Faced with corporate complaints and big-spend lobbying about the tortures of regulations, administrations have decided to “trust” businesses to do their own policing. The problem with that is that the profit motive outweighs the responsibility motive and leads to decisions about life and death based on what’s acceptable to the bottom line. I don’t want excessive government intrusion on business, but the record of unethical and immoral behavior by so many businesses prompts me to offer that something is needed to promote corporate conscience.