Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson plans to visit Boeing facilities in Seattle this week to personally assess the status of the 737 MAX, which was grounded after two fatal crashes.

Dickson, a former executive and pilot at Delta Air Lines who is qualified to fly the 737, said he intends to perform test runs on a MAX flight simulator while on the trip. The agency hasn’t seen Boeing’s final safety assessment and application to return the plane to flight, he told CNBC.

“It’s really safety first, and we’re not on any specific timeline,” Dickson said.

When asked about indications that other regulators around the world may wait to return the plane to service and conduct additional scrutiny after FAA acts, Dickson said it’s not unusual for other agencies to validate FAA’s work. “We’re working very hard to ensure that everyone is aligned,” he said.

The 737 MAX was grounded by the FAA on March 13, three days after the second fatal crash on the plane in less than five months claimed 346 lives. Both crashes have been linked to a malfunction that was driving down each plane’s nose. Boeing and the FAA assumed that pilots would be able to counteract such a malfunction, but crews in both cases lost control.

 

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