US government officials told The Wall Street Journal’s Andy Pasztor that the FAA is evaluating the emergency procedures for not only the Max but also the older generations of the 737 including the hot-selling Boeing 737 NG.
According to the officials, the broadened evaluation will take a look at how pilots of all 737 variant are instructed to respond to emergency situations.
“While we are working with the FAA to review all procedures, the safety of the 737 NG is not in question, with its 20-plus years of service and 200 million flight hours,” a Boeing spokesman said in a statement.
The FAA was not immediately available for comment.
The Boeing 737 NG is the third generation of the 737 and first entered service in 1997 with Southwest Airlines and remains in production today. The NG, or Next Generation, includes the Boeing 737-600,-700,-800, and -900/900ER.
With more than 5,000 aircraft sold over the past few years, the 737 Max is the fastest selling airliner in Boeing history. One of Boeing’s strongest selling points for the Max is its commonality with the NG, which makes operations cheaper for airlines as they won’t have to extensively re-train their current 737 pilots.
The major issue for Boeing and industry regulators is the flight system the sensor triggered. MCAS, or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, is a new control system found on board the 737 Max that was not disclosed to airlines and pilots until the Lion Air crash in October . Boeing confirmed in April that faulty readings from malfunctioning angle-of-attack sensors triggered MCAS ahead of both crashes.
In March, Boeing rolled out a series of proposed software updates designed to roll back the intrusiveness of MCAS along with additional pilot training on the differences between the previous generation 737 NG and the 737 Max.
All 371 Boeing 737 Max airliners in operation have been grounded around the world since March 13 after the crashes of Lion Air Flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, which occurred less than five months apart. A total of 342 passengers and crew died in the two crashes.