Aviation regulators outside the U.S. will weigh in on whether the Federal Aviation Administration adequately approved the Boeing 737 MAX as safe to fly, the agency said Friday.
The first summit of aviation authorities from eight other countries and the European Union gathered by the FAA concluded its first meetings on Friday. The international aviation officials will spend the next few months evaluating the FAA’s certification of the aircraft and provide the FAA with their findings and possible recommendations for improvement, the agency said.
“The formation of the JATR is unprecedented and is the wave of the future in aviation safety,” former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart, who chairs the new review, said in a statement. “The level of commitment from the experts show that aviation safety is a global issue that requires continued international collaboration.”
The so-called Joint Authorities Technical Review kicked off Monday in Seattle in one of the many reviews of the 737 MAX that have begun after two deadly crashes shook confidence in the jet and the U.S. regulator.
The panel is expected to complete its work in 90 days, the FAA has said. It’s separate from the agency’s review of Boeing’s forthcoming software update for the 737 MAX, which the agency must approve to resume flights in the U.S.
The review panel was asked by the FAA to “conduct a comprehensive review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft,” the agency said in an April 3 statement announcing the effort. It can also make recommendations for improvements on the plane.
The panel includes representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Boeing and the FAA have been subjected to withering scrutiny from lawmakers, government watchdogs and prosecutors following the 737 MAX’s worldwide grounding, now entering its seventh week. Much of that has been focused on how much was known about the MAX’s anti-stall countermeasure and how much sway Boeing had in the jet’s certification by the FAA.
More than 40 nations from the U.K. to Australia rejected public reassurances from the FAA after the second crash in Ethiopia last month and grounded the MAX before the U.S. agency followed suit — a remarkable rebuke for a body that has been a regulatory leader since the dawn of the jet age.