After being cleared to fly in North America, the Boeing 737 MAX is set to get flight clearance from European authorities.
The head of the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Patrick Ky, said in an online briefing on Tuesday, January 19 that the Airworthiness Directive is expected to be published next week and that it would clear the 737 MAX to fly in European airspace. The aircraft has been grounded for nearly two years following two crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that cost the lives of 346 people. The incidents were later traced to the aircraft’s anti-stall software, which is believed to have sent both flights into an irretrievable nosedive.
The announcement will be welcomed by European carriers including Norwegian, which has 18 MAXs in its fleet, and Turkish Airlines, which has 12.
Ryanair has ordered 75 additional 737 MAXs, bringing its total to 210 by the end of 2020. But the Ryanair model – the 737 MAX-200 – is being modified to accommodate up to 200 passengers and includes an additional overwing exit door. This model will require its own recertification but Ky said that it would happen “in the coming weeks,” according to Reuters.