U.S. confirms Boeing 737 MAX certification flights could start Monday

FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 Max aircraft are parked in a parking lot at Boeing Field in this aerial photo taken over Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed Sunday it had approved key certification test flights for the grounded Boeing BA.N 737 MAX that could begin as soon Monday.

In an email to Congress, the FAA said its Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) Board completed its review “clearing the way for flight certification testing to begin. Flights with FAA test pilots could begin as early as tomorrow, evaluating Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX.”

Reuters first reported Saturday the certification flights were expected to begin Monday.

The email noted that the “FAA has not made a decision on return to service” and has a number of additional steps. Boeing’s best-selling 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker