• Following two tragic accidents (Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019), The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was grounded throughout the world in March 2019. The UK was one of the first countries to act, preventing the aircraft from using its airspace. That ban remains in place.

    The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for type certifying (approving) the Boeing 737 MAX, and it is the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that validates this certification across the EU, including currently for the UK. We are monitoring the latest developments and the ongoing work involving Boeing, the FAA and EASA around safely returning the aircraft to service. This includes the announcement by the FAA in November 2020, publishing its final requirements to recertify the design of the Boeing 737 MAX. 

    More detail on the international arrangements for aircraft certification is published on our website. 

    When considering a controlled return to service for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft safety is our number one priority. Currently these aircraft are prevented from operating in the UK’s airspace, therefore any request for them to fly will need our special permission. Working with other international regulators, we will consider applications for ferry flights without passengers on a case by case basis. For any ferry flights to take place we would need to be assured of the safety of each flight, including the maintenance status of the aircraft and the crew’s experience.

    Any UK ferry flights will follow the procedures approved by both the FAA and EASA in the same way that MAX ferry flights have been conducted around the world since the grounding, including within Europe. 

    We approved one ferry flight for a TUI aircraft to return to the UK in September 2020.