Frequently asked questions
Is the 737 MAX safe?
Yes. Through the work Boeing has done with customers and regulators to certify and implement the software update and associated training, the 737 MAX will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.
What had to happen before the 737 MAX could fly again?
Boeing met all of the requirements of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other regulatory authorities to achieve certification and safe return to commercial service. Boeing completed a robust set of requirements including, among other items:
- Software and training enhancements - designed and tested to the highest standards.
- Regulatory certification and validation flights - demonstrated performance of new software.
- Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) - FAA and international partners from Canada, Europe and Brazil evaluated pilot training requirements including simulator sessions.
- Final design documentation and multiagency report - regulators’ final review design documentation to evaluate compliance with all regulations. All steps have been confirmed and approved by EASA.
- Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) and Airworthiness Directive (AD) issued - FAA documented acceptance of Boeing changes to software and training and set required corrective actions to be implemented by airlines before aircraft may reenter commercial service.
How did Boeing enhance the flight control system?
Boeing redesigned how the airplane’s flight control computers process the information provided by the Angle of Attack (AOA) sensors. They now compare information from both AOA sensors - instead of one - before activating, adding a new layer of protection. Also, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) will now only activate once and will never provide more input than the pilot can counteract using the control column alone. Pilots will continue to have the ability to override MCAS at any time.
What was done to gather industry input on the new software?
Boeing hosted more than 550 participants from airlines and regulators around the world to experience the software updates in simulator sessions. The company conducted 20 global conferences with more than 1,100 participants from more than 280 organizations to help operators and financiers prepare for return to service and provide them the opportunity to ask questions. Additionally, Boeing conducted dozens of conferences with 737 MAX operators worldwide and weekly technical calls to ensure all the appropriate steps were being taken to prepare for a safe return to service.
How robust was the original certification process for the 737 MAX?
The 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the FAA requirements and processes that have governed certification of previous new and derivative airplanes. The 737 MAX certification process extended for more than five years and involved 110,000 hours of work on the part of FAA personnel, and they flew or supported 297 test flights.
Will flight tests be performed before deployment to commercial service?
Yes, flight tests will be performed on each aircraft before being returned to the service.
What happened to aircraft that had been grounded?
Throughout the time being grounded, all seven 737 MAX aircraft have undergone the regular maintenance recommended by the aircraft manufacturer. Watch it in this video.
How can I tell if my flight will be operated by the 737 MAX?
You will be notified of the type of aircraft planned for your journey during the booking process. You can also check afterwards in My booking.
I don't want to fly the 737 MAX. What are my options?
Although we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX, we understand that you may wish to fly with another type of aircraft. In such case, you can rebook free of charge. For more information, click here.