The flight safety authorities successfully completed three days of flight tests on the Boeing 737 MAX, an important step in the recertification of the aircraft, US officials said on Wednesday.
While the Seattle flight tests are "a major milestone … a number of important tasks remain, including evaluating the data collected during those flights," the Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday.
"We will not lift the grounding order until the FAA security experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards."
MAX has been discontinued worldwide since March 13, 2019 after 157 people were killed at Ethiopian Airlines. This disaster occurred just a few months after a Lion Air MAX crash that killed 189 people.
In addition to evaluating the data from the test flights, the supervisory authorities also have to develop pilot training protocols for the MAX, which are subject to a public statement and a final review by a technical advisory board.
All MAX aircraft manufactured since the crashes must also be personally inspected by FAA employees, the agency says.
The MAX anti-stall flight system, the MCAS, was partially responsible for both crashes. Other technical issues, including one with electrical wiring, were later discovered during the aircraft's change process, which slowed down recertification
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