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The U.S. on Wednesday approved Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jets for passenger flights again after dual crashes took 346 lives, issuing a set of long-anticipated safety directives and notices to airlines globally that will help resolve the plane maker’s biggest pre-pandemic crisis.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s official order to release the MAX, grounded since March 2019, came as the Chicago aerospace giant grapples with a host of new problems in the midst of the continuing health crisis.

The FAA’s mandate allows Boeing to resume delivering the jets to airlines and lets them carry passengers, pending completion of certain mandatory fixes and additional pilot training requirements spelled out in related documents also released by the agency. U.S. carriers said Wednesday that they would broadly reintroduce the MAX into their schedules starting early next year, while FAA chief Steve Dickson said he expected approvals from some foreign regulators within days.

But the pandemic has sapped demand for air travel, prompting airlines and aircraft-leasing firms to cancel about 10% of Boeing’s outstanding MAX orders this year. Boeing has said it believes hundreds more of its remaining 4,102 orders could be in jeopardy because of the financial health of some customers.

Excerpt from WSJ
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