(Reuters) – Europe’s aviation safety regulator believes the Boeing 737 MAX is safe after a lengthy safety review and expects to clear the aircraft for commercial flights in January, its top official said in remarks broadcast on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lifted a 20-month-old grounding order imposed after two fatal crashes that triggered cockpit design changes. U.S. commercial flights are due to resume in late December.
“We wanted to carry out a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we performed our own checks and flight tests,” Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), told the Paris Air Forum.
“All these studies tell us that the 737 MAX can return to service. We have started to put in place all the measures,” he said. “It is likely that in our case we will adopt the decisions allowing it to return to service some time in January.”
Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Louise Heavens