After sitting idle during a 20-month grounding, the Boeing 737 Max has been cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly again in the US.
The jet has been grounded globally since March 2019 after two deadly crashes killed 346 people.
“The design and certification of this aircraft included an unprecedented level of collaborative and independent reviews by aviation authorities around the world,” the FAA said.
“Those regulators have indicated that Boeing’s design changes, together with the changes to crew procedures and training enhancements, will give them the confidence to validate the aircraft as safe to fly in their respective countries and regions.”
A long and much delayed safety review followed, causing significant costs and a loss of credibility for Boeing, as well as the FAA.
Boeing and the FAA have faced intense criticism for their so-called ‘cozy relationship.’
Airlines now have to train pilots and pull their 737 Max jets out of storage.
That will likely take some weeks at least, while Boeing will now be able to deliver an estimated 450 Max jets ready for airline customers.
Boeing says it has a backlog of about 3,000 planes.
American Airlines is expected to be the first US airline to fly the aircraft commercially again.
It is targeting late December to operate commercial Max flights, while other carriers including Southwest and United Airlines expect the planes to return to their schedules in 2021.
Today’s announcement only affects US airlines. The Max jet has yet to be approved to relaunch in Europe.