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Boeing 737 MAX Back in European Skies

Feb. 17, 2021
Europe's air safety regulator approved the plane's return to flight January 27, two months after the U.S. FAA did.

The Boeing 737 MAX made its first commercial flight in Europe on Wednesday since being grounded for 22 months following two deadly crashes.

Belgium's TUI fly said a 737 MAX was used on a flight from Brussels to Alicante and then Malaga in Spain.

The flight took off at 0830 GMT and landed two hours later in Malaga, according to the site flightradar24.

Europe's air safety regulator EASA approved the return of the 737 MAX on January 27, two months after the US regulator cleared the aircraft to resume operations.

The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after 346 people died in two crashes -- the 2018 Lion Air disaster in Indonesia and an Ethiopian Airlines crash the following year.

Investigators said a main cause of both crashes was a faulty flight handling system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS.

Meant to keep the plane from stalling as it ascends, the automated system instead forced the nose of the plane downward.

Boeing was forced to revamp the system and implement new pilot training protocols.

Commercial flights with the 737 MAX resumed on December 9 with Brazilian airline Gol, then in the US and Canada.

The 737 MAX was a big hit with airlines, becoming Boeing's fastest-selling aircraft until its grounding in 2019. After the Covid-19 crisis decimated demand, airlines cancelled hundreds of the orders.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2021

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