Federal regulators briefed pilots and US airlines on progress in restoring Boeing Co’s grounded 737 Max to flight, according to a pilots union spokesman who gave no indication when the jet will return to service.
“We’ve taken off our watches and put the calendars in the drawer,” Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said after the session at the US Federal Aviation Administration offices in Washington.
“We’re walking down that path, we’re not running.”
He said the group discussed the preliminary investigative findings by Ethiopian and Indonesian authorities into the two crashes involving the jetliner over the past six months and the proposed software updates to prevent it from happening again.
Additional training for pilots will be required, and work developing it is in the initial stages, he said.
He said the next major milestone for pilots is having a training programme put
together. The half-day meeting included representatives of the three US airlines that fly the 737 Max and pilots unions as part of the FAA’s review of the plane’s safety. The FAA is working with Boeing as it develops a software upgrade and proposes to increase the level of training that 737 Max pilots must receive.
The FAA grounded the 737 Max on March 13, three days after the second fatal crash involving the jet in five months. The agency and Boeing are now working to restore confidence in the 737 Max’s safety with the public and regulators around the world.
“The airplane certainly has to go through a lot of hoops to get ungrounded, but one of the last and, we believe, most important is the pilot confidence,” Tajer said.