Boeing’s bid to see its 737 Max return to the skies faces a crucial week and flight safety testing is expected to begin.
Pilots and technical experts from regulators and the company are understood to plan three days of testing, possibly starting Monday.
Boeing’s best-selling plane was landed last year after two accidents that killed 346 people on flights.
The tests are a milestone for Boeing, but even if they go well, it will take months of more security checks.
Aviation regulators landed on the 737 Max about 15 months ago after two accidents, a Lion Air flight and an Ethiopian Airlines flight, five months apart.
The ruling triggered a financial crisis at the 103-year-old company, prompted lawsuits from the victims’ families and raised questions about how Boeing and the US regulator, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), carried out your security approval process.
Investigators blamed the flaws on the flight control system, which Boeing has been reviewing for months to meet new security demands.
A 737 Max loaded with test equipment will go through a series of airborne scenarios near Boeing’s manufacturing base in Seattle.
According to Reuters, which first reported the news, the pilots will intentionally activate the reprogrammed loss prevention software known as MCAS, charged with both accidents.
The BBC understands that both the FAA, which is leading the tests, and Boeing, are hopeful that the process will begin on Monday, except for last-minute inconveniences.
Test flights had been planned for the past year, but investigations uncovered a number of new security issues that have delayed return to service.
It could take weeks to analyze data from test flights. But even if this process is successful, more flights, pilot training, and authorization from European and Canadian regulators will be needed.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has maintained that FAA authorization will not automatically mean authorization to fly in Europe.
Norwegian Air, TUI and Icelandair are among the airlines using the 737 Max in Europe, while other airlines have the plane in order.
Boeing and the FAA declined to comment.