Boeing’s stock price soared early Friday as Europe’s top aviation regulator said the company’s beleaguered 737 MAX plane was safe enough to start flying again.
Shares in the Chicago-based planemaker rose about 5.5 percent in premarket trading to $173.40 as of 8:44 a.m. after Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, said the troubled jet could return to service in Europe by the end of the year.
“Our analysis is showing that this is safe, and the level of safety reached is high enough for us,” Ky told Bloomberg News in an interview published Friday.
The 737 MAX, once Boeing’s fastest-selling plane, was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes that killed 346 people. The crisis sparked probes by American authorities and led the company to oust CEO Dennis Muilenburg and replace him with David Calhoun, the current chief.
Boeing is still waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to let the 737 MAX return to service in the US. FAA chief Steve Dickson said he “like[d] what I saw” when he personally flew the plane last month, but added that regulators were not yet ready to complete the approval process.
Boeing also has some hurdles left to clear in Europe — regulators there expect to issue a draft airworthiness directive for the MAX next month, with four weeks of public comment to follow, Ky told Bloomberg.
The company also has to develop a “synthetic sensor” meant to make it simpler for pilots to handle situations in which one or both of the plane’s mechanical “angle-of-attack” sensors fail, according to the news service. That process could reportedly take up to two years.
“We are really looking into this new aircraft and we are making sure that ours and Boeing’s safety assessment is done properly and doesn’t leave any questions unanswered,” Ky told Bloomberg.
With Post wires
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