world of aviation logo

EU follows Canada in lifting MAX flight ban

written by Hannah Dowling | January 20, 2021

Artists impression of a 737 MAX in Ryanair livery (Ryanair/Boeing).

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is set to give Boeing’s embattled 737 MAX the official green light to resume operations in Europe as soon as next week.

The EASA is among the last of the major regulators to return the jet’s regulatory approval to fly, and comes just one day after its Canadian counterpart, Transport Canada, gave its verdict to return the MAX to operation.

The air safety watchdog’s executive director Patrick Ky confirmed that the agency will release the final version of its airworthiness directive next week, which will essentially lift the flight ban that has been imposed on the jet for nearly two years.

“We expect to publish it next week, which means the MAX will be cleared to fly again,” Ky said. 

“We believe we know what happened in the MAX accidents.

“We are confident that the safety criteria has been met.”

The agency director noted that separate certification of the MAX-200 variant will likely follow in “coming weeks”, he added, allowing all MAX flights to resume before summer.


The UK, which formally exited the European Union and thus the jurisdiction of the EASA, will need to makes its own recertification decision on the 737 MAX, separate to today’s announcement.

Notably, both the EU and Canadian regulators decided to run an additional two months of independent testing on safety changes for the 737 MAX, instead of remaining in-step with the FAA, as would be standard.

Additionally, both regulatory bodies have said they will introduce tougher training requirements for pilots flying the MAX than those imposed by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

The 737 MAX was grounded around the globe for the better part of two years following two fatal crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

Since then, Boeing and a team of international aviation authorities have rigorously tested the aircraft, and made critical changes to the aircraft’s software and sensor systems, to prevent such tragedies in the future.

To date, most aviation safety authorities, including the US, Brazil, Canada and now the EU have approved the jet to return to commercial passenger service.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have made no indication of if and when they will decide to lift the grounding order in their jurisdiction. China was previously one of the most popular markets for the MAX.


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year