Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) noted on Tuesday that it sees progress in talks with US aerospace company Boeing on its new jetliner.
EASA executive director Patrick Ky noted in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday “we are hopefully converging” on cockpit design requirements for the 777X jetliner.
The 777X is still in testing and the EASA has been at odds with Boeing over flight controls for more than one year.
The standoff has added to the five-year delay of the commercial launch of the jetliner, according to industry sources, with the introduction now expected in 2025.
Ky commented on the negotiations shortly after industry sources noted earlier this month that the EASA held talks with Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
According to industry sources, the EASA wants Boeing to change the electronic safety net in 777X’s flight controls.
Crashes in 2018 and 2019
As far as certification of US airplanes goes, the EASA is not on par with the FAA, but its influence has grown following the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.
A significant factor in the two crashes was identified as a single point of failure in the flight controls, with EASA stressing the importance of safety backups.
The electronic cockpit of the new 777X is radically different from the technology used in the 737 MAX, but EASA’s approach is focused on safety.
EASA wants Boeing to add an additional layer of safety to make sure that one electronic failure in the cockpit cannot cause a crash – a safety feature known as dissimilarity.
While Ky noted that the EASA sees progress in talks, it is not clear how quickly the agency would resolve its certification dispute with Boeing.
According to industry sources, it is not clear whether new safeguards should be added by making changes to 777X’s flight control software or hardware.
Boeing has previously warned that having two regulators would add complexity and risk new problems.
According to US authorities, Boeing’s 777 jets, which have been widened to build the 777X series with 400 seats, are among the safest in the industry.