WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States told international carriers on Monday that the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is airworthy as regulators scrutinize two fatal crashes of the new model of aircraft since October, but said it will mandate forthcoming “design changes” from Boeing by April.
An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday, killing all 157 aboard and raising questions about the safety of the new variant of the industry workhorse, one of which also crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
Notice - Federal - Aviation - Administration - Design
In a notice, the Federal Aviation Administration said it planned to require design changes by Boeing no later than April. Boeing is working to complete “flight control system enhancements, which provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items,” the FAA said.
The FAA also said Boeing “plans to update training requirements and flight crew manuals to go with the design change” to an automated protection system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS. The changes also include MCAS activation and angle of attack signal enhancements.
FAA - Notice - Reports - Similarities - Crashes
The FAA said in the notice made public that external reports are drawing similarities between the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. “However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions,” according to the Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community for Boeing 737 MAX 8 operators.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters regulators would not hesitate to act if they find a safety issue.
FAA - Identifies - Issue - Safety - Department
“If the FAA identifies an issue that affects safety, the department will take immediate and appropriate action,” Chao told reporters. “I want people to be assured that we take these incidents, these accidents very seriously.”
Boeing Co’s top executive told employees on Monday he was confident in the safety...
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