The US aviation regulator has uncovered another fault with Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft that is likely to delay further the model’s return to passenger service.
The 737 variant has been grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes with the loss of a total of 346 lives in the last year, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which appear to have resulted from the same fault with the plane.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that it had ‘recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate’.
It said: ‘The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 Max to passenger service. The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so.
‘We continue to evaluate Boeing’s software modification to the MCAS and we are still developing necessary training requirements. We also are responding to recommendations received from the Technical Advisory Board (TAB). The TAB is an independent review panel we have asked to review our work regarding 737 Max return to service.
‘On the most recent issue, the FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks.’
In a statement, Boeing said: 'During the FAA’s review of the 737 MAX software update and recent simulator sessions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified an additional requirement that it has asked the company to address through the software changes that the company has been developing for the past eight months.
'Boeing agrees with the FAA's decision and request, and is working on the required software. Addressing this condition will reduce pilot workload by accounting for a potential source of uncommanded stabilizer motion.'