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Exclusive-Canada regulator to approve Boeing 737 MAX design change as soon as Thursday -sources

Randy Mancini 20 December 16, 2020
FILE PHOTO: Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, USA
FILE PHOTO: Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, U.S. November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

December 17, 2020

By Allison Lampert and David Shepardson

MONTREAL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Transport Canada is set to announce approval of design changes to Boeing’s 737 MAX as early as Thursday, in a first step toward bringing the aircraft back to the country’s skies after a near two-year flight ban, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The Canadian regulator, however, is not expected to issue an immediate airworthiness directive, which is needed to help clear the way for the lifting of the ban on commercial flights.

Canada was one of the last major nations before the U.S. to ground the MAX in March 2019, following two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

A spokeswoman for Transport Canada declined comment on Wednesday night.

Transport Canada’s move would follow earlier announcements by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) along with Boeing’s main regulator, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which lifted its own ban on Nov. 18.

Canada’s two largest carriers Air Canada and privately-held WestJet Airlines both fly the aircraft.

Brazil’s Gol last week became the world’s first airline to fly the Boeing 737 MAX commercially since the planes were grounded.

(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis)