A Boeing 737 MAX jet heads to a landing at Boeing Field following a test flight Monday, June 29, 2020, in Seattle. Federal regulators on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020 outlined a list of design changes they will require in the Boeing 737 Max to fix safety issues that were discovered after two deadly crashes that led to the worldwide grounding of the plane. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Boeing 737 MAX test flights begin in Vancouver to determine if planes are safe to fly

Canada will take part in a joint global approval process in London starting Sept. 14

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is conducting tests in Vancouver the week of Sept. 7 to determine if the the redesigned Boeing 737 MAX is safe to fly.

That Boeing plane was grounded after two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX 8 version that lead to 346 deaths. The first, Lion Air Flight 610, killed all 189 people on board when it crashed shortly after takeoff from a Jakarta airport on Oct. 29, 2018.

The second fatal crash happened less than six months later when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed just after take off from an Ethiopian airport, killing all 157 people on board on March 10, 2019. The planes were grounded worldwide shortly after the second crash, and Boeing halted production in January 2020.

In a statement, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it has been working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing to schedule its flight tests, which have been hampered by COVID-19 travel restrictions between Europe and the United States.

Simulator flights began in England on Sept. 1, and test flights started at the Vancouver International Airport on Sept. 7.

The flights are a “prerequisite for the European agency to approve the aircraft’s new design.”

VIDEO: Boeing CEO apologizes to families of 737 Max jet crash victims

Here at home, Transport Canada said it has successfully completed a series of “flight tests activities” of the redesigned airplanes as part of a validation process. Transport Canada’s flight test crew conducted evaluations of the engineering simulator at the Boeing facility in Seattle from Aug. 23-25, and test flights from Aug. 26-27.

“Transport Canada will not lift the flight restrictions on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 until the department is fully satisfied that all safety concerns have been addressed by the manufacturer and the FAA, and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau in a statement.

Canada was the first country to complete the validation tests for the aircraft. Once Transport Canada’s analysis is complete this fall, the agency will take part in a Joint Operational Evaluation Board in London starting Sept. 14.

READ MORE: Boeing, FAA both faulted in certification of the 737 Max


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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