The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation regulator has started formal test flights for Boeing's troubled 737 Max. 

It is ironic that the Covick-19 pandemic has removed the serious problems with the aircraft from the news pages.  The Boeing's Renton plant is at a standstill with over 400 aircraft waiting completion and delivery.

Boeing's best-selling aircraft was grounded last year after two crashes killed all 346 people on board.  On 28 October 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 plunged into the Java Sea 13min after take-off from Jakarta.  The probable cause also arose the day before but was correctly diagnosed by a check/third pilot who warned the operating crew.  On 10 March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, crashed with a similar malfunction. 

The MAX grounding has causing a financial crisis at the 103-year-old company, with lawsuits from victims' families and airlines, and raised questions about how Boeing and the FAA conducted their safety approval process.  Investigations uncovered an array of new safety issues.  There is no date for a return to service.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has maintained that clearance by the FAA will not automatically mean a clearance to fly in Europe.