Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
File photo: Dozens of grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, on July 1, 2019. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) refused on Wednesday to commit to a time frame for the re-certification of Boeing’s 737 Max jets, which have been grounded since March.

Stephen Dickson, the FAA’s Administrator, said during the Dubai Airshow that the regulator is still doing audits on the Max’s software, and will continue with the certification process, before retraining pilots to use the new system. He said that it “remains to be seen” whether the Max’s will be allowed to fly again by January 2020, and that a March timeline would be “more conservative.”

Boeing had earlier said that it expects certification to be completed in December 2019, but Dickson’s remarks negate that timeline. The FAA’s head said that time pressure cannot be a factor in completing safety certifications.

The Max’s were grounded globally after two fatal accidents involving the model killed over 300 on-board. The grounding has put pressure on the earnings of many airlines operating the aircraft, including the UAE’s flydubai.

Dickson said that he has met with executives from flydubai as well as from the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), and wants to ensure that all operators of the Max jets have “full visibility into how the [certification] process works.”

He said the GCAA has been one of nine international authorities asked to join the FAA in reviewing the updates on Max aircraft.

He also said that going forward, the FAA will put more emphasis on integration across all its systems for the certification of new aircraft, such as Boeing’s 777X, which is yet to be launched.