Transport Canada and the MAX recertification

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This week, Transport Canada begins an important step in the recertification of the MAX: Canadian inspectors will conduct a series of test flights in a simulator and then with a B737MAX at Boeing’s facilities.

Transport Canada’s influence

Air Canada still has 27 MAX on order, Wesjet 52 and Sunwing 1 for a total of 80 MAX to be delivered. Noted that Westjet is the largest customer of the MAX 7 version with 22 on orders. Boeing still has over 3,700 MAXs on order and the Canadian market is not very heavy.

When it comes to MAX recertification, all steps and the OK from all certification agencies are essential. Imagine for a moment that Transport Canada is not happy with the flight tests; this would raise significant doubt about the MAX’s safety and seriously jeopardize its future. It is difficult to see how China and EASA could allow it to fly again following a refusal by Transport Canada.

For Boeing this is an important test because Transport Canada is known to be neutral about the MAX. The American aircraft manufacturer has every interest in correctly answering its questions. This is an exercise that will be very useful to deal with EASA afterwards.

About Transport Canada

The Civil Aviation division of Transport Canada is a stable organization. Most of the employees have a long career there. It is a very selective employer who only hires qualified and experienced employees. Once hired, employees are encouraged to hone their skills and take on several different positions. Staff turnover is therefore rather low.

It is an organization that has very high security standards as well as very strict ethical rules. This is what has allowed this organization to carve out a reputation as a reliable certification agency.

Personally, every time I have dealt with Transport Canada I have been treated very well. The people of this organization are competent and perform their tasks with professionalism. But frankly, speed is certainly not its main characteristic. While the organization has suffered several staff cuts, employees are not cutting corners. So it happens that some steps can be long and tedious.

My advice to Boeing

This spring, FAA employees complained again about being pressured by Boeing. Maybe in the past this tactic has worked with the FAA. But Boeing most consider that these are not the mores and customs of the canucks. Transport Canada does not have a reputation for being open to outside pressure and commercial imperatives. Boeing would be very ill-advised to pressurize Transport Canada in order to speed up the recertification process.

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