Brazilian regulator clears grounded Boeing plane to fly

The Associated Press
·2-min read

Brazil’s aviation regulator has lifted its order that grounded the Boeing 737 Max, clearing the way for the plane to fly again in Latin America’s biggest country.

The move Wednesday by the Brazilian regulator, ANAC, followed similar actions in recent days by U.S. and European officials.

ANAC said it agreed with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration that all necessary technical changes to address safety issues raised by two deadly crashes have been made. The FAA is requiring the planes to get updated flight-control software, that some wiring be rerouted, and that Boeing 737 pilots get additional training in Max flight simulators before flying the Max.

ANAC said Gol Linhas Aereas is the only Brazilian airline with Max planes in its fleet, and it is making the required fixes under supervision to resume flights with the planes.

The airline said it will operate test flights on each of its seven Max jets without passengers but with personnel from ANAC and Boeing on board. Commercial flights will start gradually over the next few weeks, Gol said.

In a statement, Boeing CEO David Calhoun said that every day the company’s employees “rededicate ourselves to ensuring accidents like the ones that led to the decision to suspend operations never happen again.”

The Max has been grounded worldwide since March 2019, shortly after the second crash, in Ethiopia. The first crash occurred in October 2018 in Indonesia. In all, 346 people died.

American Airlines plans to resume Max flights — one round trip a day at the beginning — on Dec. 29. Other U.S. and European airlines are aiming for early 2021 to put the plane back in their fleets.

Canada’s regulator is expected to lift its grounding order, but the response by China — the country whose carriers have the largest number of Max jets — is less certain.