Polish Airlines (PLL LOT) plan to transfer five of its Boeing 737 MAX planes from Lublin, eastern Poland back to Warsaw in March, the company announced on Thursday. Before the commencement of passenger flights with these machines, the carrier will conduct additional inspections and test flights.
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft were grounded by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on March 12, 2019, after two accidents. The first occurred in Indonesia in October 2018 and the second was in Ethiopia in March 2019. A total of 346 people died.
The cause of the tragic events was software known as MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), which was to facilitate the operation of the aircraft. However, the MCAS, guided by only one Angle of Attack sensor was constantly triggered as if the sensor was malfunctioning, pushing the aircraft’s nose down repeatedly and ultimately preventing control over the aircraft.
At the end of January, the Civil Aviation Authority (ULC) informed that EASA has allowed a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX to be reinstated to fly, ordering software updates, electrical system modifications, maintenance inspections, operator manual updates and crew training. This was to allow safe flight operations in the European airspace, almost two years after grounding the machines.
“Recently, our MAXs have undergone the necessary technical work, and the first LOT pilots have already completed the mandatory simulation sessions. Taking care of the maximum level of safety and the comfort of our passengers, we decided to perform additional technical inspections in the service base before restoring the machines to operate the flight network. Moreover, after completing the compulsory simulator training, each pilot will also fly with an instructor,” Maciej Wilk, a member of the management board for operational matters at LOT said.
“I am convinced that after introducing all modifications, the MAX is completely safe,” he assured.