Canadian Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said Friday he is considering requiring that pilots undergo simulator training on Boeing”s 737 MAX before it will be allowed to return to the skies after being grounded following two deadly crashes.
“We should not, at this point, discount simulator training,” Garneau told a press conference in Toronto.
“We”ll wait to see what the final solution is, but it is premature to say that there is no requirement for simulator training.” His comments follow a meeting on Thursday in Texas in which civil aviation regulators from around the world failed to agree on the return to service of the Boeing aircraft.
The planes were grounded after two deadly crashes in Ethiopia in March and Indonesia in October that left a combined 346 people dead.
Investigators have focused on the MAX”s anti-stall Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System in inquiries into the two deadly crashes.
Boeing last week said the MCAS update was ready for the certification process, and US airlines were hoping the planes could be back in the skies in time for part of the summer travel season.
But Daniel Elwell, acting head of the US Federal Aviation Administration, poured cold water on hopes of a speedy resolution, after revealing Boeing had held off submitting a proposed software fix for review after his agency raised additional questions.
He also said regulators have yet to decide on changes to pilot training once the adjustments have been approved.
The United States has differed with a number of countries on this issue, including Canada. Washington believes training on computers or tablets is sufficient for seasoned pilots but Ottawa wants to require training on flight simulators.
Nicholas Robinson, director-general of Canada”s civil aviation, said Thursday the training was a “possible option” but added it was too early to say if it would be mandatory.