Australia Lifts Ban on Deadly Boeing 737 Max After 23 Months

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Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)  revealed on Friday that the 23 months suspension  imposed on the Boeing 737 Max has been lifted, making the aircraft safe to operate to and from the country.

All 387 variants of the aircraft were grounded worldwide in March 2019 shortly after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board.

Five months earlier, another Boeing 737 Max aircraft, Lion Air Flight 610, had crashed in Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew men. Both flights combined had crashed just 19 minutes after take-off.

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The Lion Air crash was the deadliest in the airline’s history and the second deadliest in Indonesia, while the Ethiopian Airline crash was equally the deadliest in the aviation company’s history, and the deadliest in Ethiopia. Both crashes were as a result of a recurring failure in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), with investigations unveiling that Boeing tried to cover up this defect. The sensor in both crashes sent incorrect data to the software, which caused the aircrafts to nose dive, with pilots unable to override this automatic setting. The aircraft manufacturers were slapped with a $2.5 billion fraud settlement.

“We have accepted the comprehensive return-to-service requirements specified by the FAA as State of Design for the 737 MAX and are confident that the aircraft are safe.

“Our airworthiness and engineering team has assessed there are no additional return to service requirements for operation in Australia.” CASA’s acting head and director of aviation safety, Graeme Crawford, said in a statement.

This comes four months after America’s aviation regulator, FAA, Boeing’s home country announced that the MAX had been cleared to return to service. They also join Europe’s EASA and Transport Canada at aviation regulators to lift the suspension in 2021.

Although no Australian airline owns the aircraft, Singapore airlines and Fiji Airways operated them on flights to Australia before the suspension.

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