Fix to 737 MAX anti-stall software is ready: sources

File: EASA made clear that it believed the aircraft is ready to return to the skies after having carried out its own independent assessment of the 737 MAX. AFP/Stephen Brashear

NEW YORK - A fix to the anti-stall system suspected in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet that killed 189 people in Indonesia is ready, industry sources said, as the company tries to avoid a lengthy grounding of its planes.

Boeing was due to present the patch to officials and pilots of US airlines -- American, Southwest and United -- in Renton, Washington state, where the plane is assembled, other sources said.

"Boeing has already finalised the necessary corrective measures for the MAX," an aviation sector source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

READ: Crashed Lion Air jet had air speed indicator glitch: official

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will receive the patch "early next week," a government source added.

Asked how long the certification process could take after the patch is in the hands of the authorities, this source said that nothing has been decided yet.

The FAA declined to comment.

The Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October and another accident this month involving an Ethiopian Airlines jet, which killed 346 people between them, have raised major concerns about the safety certification of the 737 MAX 8 model. 

READ: Suspicion and strife strain Ethiopian plane crash probe

The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 led to the global grounding of 737 MAX planes.

Although it will take months to determine the exact cause of both crashes, investigators in the Lion case have honed in on the MCAS automated anti-stalling system designed to point the nose of the plane downward if it is in danger of stalling, or losing lift.

American Airlines and Southwest pilots were set to test simulators with the updates, according to the sources.

Boeing neither confirmed nor denied the information.

The FAA had given until April for Boeing to make the necessary changes to the critical anti-stall system, and on March 15 two anonymous industry sources told AFP the upgrade would be ready in about 10 days. 

A spokesman for United Airlines, whose fleet includes 14 of the 737 MAX 9 planes, confirmed the company's attendance at the training session.


Paid Content