Federal regulators said Monday they will require several design changes to the Boeing 737 Max to fix safety issues that arose in two deadly crashes and led to the worldwide grounding of the plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration proposed software change requirements in the flight-control computers, new alerts to pilots under some conditions, and the rerouting of some wiring on the planes.
The proposed changes deal with issues that mostly have been raised before. The public will have 45 days to comment on the FAA’s decision.
It is not clear when the FAA will lift its March 2019 order grounding all Max jets, which followed similar orders by regulators in the rest of the world. Boeing officials said last week they hope to win regulatory approval to resume deliveries of completed Max jets in the fourth quarter of this year.
Airlines began using the Max in 2017. There were nearly 400 in service when the planes were grounded after a 2018 crash in Indonesia and a 2019 crash in Ethiopia. In all, 346 people died. Investigators have pointed to the role played by flight-control software that pushed the noses of the planes down based on faulty sensor readings.
The FAA has been harshly criticized by families of the passengers killed in the crashes and by members of Congress, who have found fault in the agency's original decision to certify the Max. In Monday's proposed airworthiness directive and an accompanying 95-page report, the FAA detailed how it identified and responded to safety problems that became evident from investigations into the crashes.
The agency said that when its work is done, “the 737 MAX will be safe to operate and meet FAA certification standards.”