Boeing hopes to conduct key certification flights on the 737 MAX this month, according to sources cited by Reuters and Bloomberg. The Chicago-based company resumed production of the plane on 27 May, after halting it in January.
Boeing is reported to be closing in on a date to kick off the test certification process, which could see the MAX return to service ahead of schedule. Reuters previously reported that the FAA did not plan on giving the green light to the resumption of 737 MAX flights until at least August.
On Wednesday, the FAA said that it was “in regular contact with Boeing as the company continues its work on the 737 MAX. … The aircraft will be cleared for return to passenger service only after the FAA is satisfied that all safety-related issues are addressed”.
Boeing has provided clarification in recent months on safety issues it has identified with the aircraft, including modifications required to the plane’s wiring. Though the company has not provided comment on the timing of the certification flight, it did say on Wednesday that it had secured approval from the FAA for a service bulletin laying these out.
“Boeing has already begun modifying airplanes that have not yet been delivered and is co-ordinating modification efforts with the airlines,” the company said. “New airplanes being built will include this update.”
Boeing also said it had shared with airlines “draft pilot training materials and related information to help operators facilitate and plan the development of their training programs.” This comes despite backlash faced by former Boeing chief Dennis Muilenburg, after he flagged pilot error as a possible cause of the two 737 MAX incidents.