US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing 737 Max to fly again after 20 months and a pair of deadly crashes.
The nation’s air safety agency announced the move on Wednesday, saying after a “comprehensive and methodical” review process it is now okay to fly again on these planes.
Regulators around the world grounded the Max in March 2019, after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet. That happened less than five months after another Max flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea.
A total of 346 passengers and crew members on both planes were killed.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson signed an order Wednesday rescinding the grounding.
US airlines will be able to fly the Max once Boeing updates critical software and computers on each plane and pilots receive training in flight simulators.
The FAA says the order was made in cooperation with air safety regulators worldwide.
The move follows exhaustive congressional hearings on the crashes that led to criticism of the FAA for lax oversight and Boeing for rushing to implement a new software system that put profits over safety and ultimately led to the firing of its CEO.
The FAA is requiring Boeing to change the software, so it doesn’t repeatedly point the nose of the plane down to counteract possible aerodynamic stalling.
Boeing says the software also does not override the pilot’s controls like it did in the past.
Boeing also must install new display systems for pilots and change the way wires are routed to a tail stabilizer bar.
American is the only US airline to put the Max back in its schedule so far, starting with one round trip daily between New York and Miami beginning Dec. 29.
Nearly 400 Max jets were in service worldwide when they were grounded, and Boeing has built and stored about 450 more since then.
All have to undergo maintenance and get some modifications before they can fly.