Sydney, Australia, Feb 26 (efe-epa).- Australia announced Friday that it was lifting the ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operating to and from the country imposed two years ago following deadly crashes involving the plane in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019 respectively, which killed 346 people.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA) said that its decision comes after the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) deemed the aircraft safe to fly again.
“We have accepted the comprehensive return-to-service requirements specified by the FAA as State of Design for the 737 MAX and are confident that the aircraft are safe,” CASA’s Acting CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Graeme Crawford said in a statement.
“Our airworthiness and engineering team has assessed there are no additional return to service requirements for operation in Australia,” he added.
CASA said that no Australian airlines currently operate this Boeing model but added that both Singapore’s SilkAir and Fiji Airlines flew the 737 MAX aircraft to Australia before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australia has kept its international borders closed since March 2020 and only allows the entry of its residents and citizens and some of their close family members as well as those of diplomats and other exceptions.
It is believed that the country will gradually its borders at the end of October coinciding with the end of the vaccination program that it began this week.
With the lifting of the ban on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the first country in the Asia Pacific to do so, Australia follows in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria, which gave the plane clearance this month to resume operations, as well as EASA, Brazil and Canada, which did so in January.
The 737 MAX was grounded following a March 10, 2019 crash that killed 157 people in Ethiopia. On Oct. 29, 2018, an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX crashed in the Java Sea, killing 181 passengers and eight crew members. The crashes were blamed on a defect in that model’s flight-control system.
Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle an investigation by the US authorities into the crashes.
According to the investigation, Boeing hid details about the model’s flight-control system and “misled” the FAA as the pilot training manuals and materials did not include information about the aircraft’s operation. EFE-EPA