737 MAX still not close to flying again, as FAA testifies in front of Congress
Boeing’s 737 MAX will not be re-certified to fly until sometime in 2020 — that’s the latest word from the Federal Aviation Administration as it goes before Congress.
FAA head Stephen Dickson told CNBC that there are 10 to 11 “milestones” to reach before the agency will allow the planes to fly again. That means the 737 MAX will remain grounded well into 2020.
At this moment, there’s no solid plan as to when exactly the MAX will get the necessary certification it needs to re-enter circulation.
Dickson, meanwhile, is testifying in Congress Wednesday morning about plans for the 737 MAX, and how it will address safety issues in the future.
“When the 737 MAX is returned to service, it will be because the safety issues have been addressed, and pilots have received all the training they need to safety operate the aircraft — this process is not guided by a calendar or schedule,” Dickson said in his testimony.
The FAA has faced flack for its own role in allowing the 737 MAX to be rushed to market, something lawmakers wanted addressed Wednesday.
“The FAA must fix its credibility problem — today I expect to hear specific steps the agency is taking to restore public confidence,” Washington Rep. Rick Larsen said in his opening statement.
Earlier in the week, former Boeing manager Ed Pierson said the push to increase production of the 737 MAX created “a factory in chaos.” He told NBC News he warned the company about problems at the Renton plant months before two of the planes crashed. He’s expected to testify before Congress about that.
Pierson said that before the first tragedy, he wrote to a company executive about his concerns.
“For the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane,” he wrote in the email before the crashes took place. He wanted the production to be temporarily shut down until factory issues were worked out. Four months later the first of two crashes occurred.