World News

Canada revising deal aimed at validating U.S.-certified planes

(Reuters) – Transport Canada said on Thursday it is revising a deal that would have reduced technical work done by the Canadian regulator when validating Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified aircraft like the Boeing 737 MAX.

Canada validated the FAA’s March 2017 certification of the 737 MAX under a deal where such approvals by the United States are accepted by Canada and vice versa with some additional oversight.

The aircraft was grounded a year ago following two crashes involving the model, one in Indonesia in October 2018 and a second in Ethiopia in March 2019.

David Turnbull, director, national aircraft certification for Transport Canada, told an Ottawa hearing that he did not agree with the deal signed in November 2018 that would have gradually reduced the Canadian regulator’s technical workload when validating FAA-certified aircraft.

“The mandate of that activity is in the process of being rewritten,” he told the hearing on aircraft certification and the 737 MAX.

Turnbull did not specify why the deal would be changed.

The FAA has faced criticism for its practice of delegating a high level of certification tasks to manufacturers such as Boeing, and for its review of a safety system on the 737 MAX later tied to the crashes.

Turnbull said Transport Canada had planned to change the agreement, called the validation improvement roadmap, before the two 737 MAX crashes, although it was signed after the Lion Air crash on Oct. 29, 2018.

“It was signed, but I’m telling you here and now that the wording of that was planned to be altered prior to these accidents I might add,” he said.

The agreement would be discussed by the two regulators at a subsequent meeting, he said.

(Reporting By Allison Lampert; editing by Richard Pullin)