Boeing on Thursday confirmed that it encountered a fresh technical problem with flight software on plane 737 MAX, but said that it is confident of MAX safely returning to service. According to media reports, the company said that the software issue involves indicator light staying longer than intended. The indicator light is associated with the stabilizer trim system, which raises and lowers the plane's nose. Boeing in its statement said that the company is incorporating a change to ensure that the indicator light illuminates as intended and ensured it, customers, that 737 MAX fleet will safely return to service.
Boeing also estimated that the ungrounding of the 737 MAX will begin during mid-2020. Boeing in its statement also expressed regret over the grounding of the fleet and said, "Returning the MAX safely to service is our number one priority, and we are confident that will happen. We acknowledge and regret the continued difficulties that the grounding of the 737 MAX has presented to our customers, our regulators, our suppliers, and the flying public." As per media reports, the 737 MAX was grounded across Asia, Europe, Canada, and then the United States following two fatal crashes within five months that claimed 346 lives.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday reportedly revealed that Boeing informed the regulator about the technical glitch with the light indicator on January 20. While talking to the media FAA administrator Steve Dickson said, "Boeing let the FAA and its airline customers know about the problem with the light during the week of January 20." When Dickson was asked about when the jet might fly again, he said that the timeframe for that has not been set as it will only return to passenger service once safety regulators are fully satisfied and all safety-related issues are addressed to FAA's satisfaction.
Boeing 737 MAX flights were grounded after a Lion Airline plane carrying 189 passengers crashed into the sea moments after take-off in October 2018. Then in March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after take-off, killing all 157 people on board. Three days after the March crash, the United States' FAA temporarily grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft.