Canadian Pilots Review Boeing Models Amid 737 Max Certification Process

Grounded Boeing 737 Max jets
A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, U.S., March 26, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo)

Boeing is getting closer to having its 737 Max software update certified while Air Canada, one of the many airlines that grounded the jets, said pilots have kicked off reviews of the aircrafts' systems as the Canadian flight's provider called for simulator training.

The Wall Street Journal noted that the U.S. and Canada may be triggering a rift due to contradicting stances over the certification of the Boeing 737 Max jets. Air Canada wants to implement additional training sessions for pilots flying the planes but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) previously stood firm against this recommendation.

Earlier this week, Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau reiterated the need for further simulator training to ensure that pilots will have adequate skills and knowledge in flying the Boeing Max 737 jets.

Garneau's proposal came following two crashes involving the Boeing jets that took place within a span of five months. The Lion Air crash in October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March took the lives of 346 people.

On Thursday, Air Canada heeded Garneau's call. The flight's provider announced that pilots flying the Boeing 737 Max have kicked off reviews of the aircraft's software. The carrier added that it will make a decision on additional training after global regulators release final recommendations on the grounded jets.

Westjet Airlines, on the other hand, has yet to comment on the Canadian minister's proposal. Despite its indirect silence on the issue, a company spokeswoman said in an email that Air Canada's rival company abides by the country's Transport recommendations.

In response to Air Canada's move, Boeing said it was pleased with Ottawa's decision to have a more cautious and "rigorous approach" on the issue. On the other hand, the American jet maker continues to work on getting its 737 Max back in the air.

Boeing completed tests on the 737 Max models' MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) software that was previously believed to have had a hand in the two recent crashes. CEO Dennis Muilenburg said pilots have completed 120 flights on the jets using the updated software.

Muilenburg announced that after testing the upgraded MCAS system, the company is now "making steady progress toward certification." The announcement came after multiple carriers grounded 737 Max jets over safety worries from regulators and passengers alike.

In its latest update about the Boeing 737 Max tests, Muilenburg revealed that he personally took part in the tests, adding that around 85 percent of international operators have experienced the upgraded MCAS software. The company has yet to name which operators and carriers completed testing the software.

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