European validation testing of the Boeing 737 Max is set to commence in early September, with flights conducted in Canada.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency states that it will begin simulator testing from 1 September at a facility in London Gatwick.

Flight-testing of the aircraft under EASA oversight will subsequently take place in Vancouver in the week beginning 7 September.

Gatwick will then host a meeting of the Joint Operations Evaluation Board, a group comprising pilots of 737 Max operators which is assessing cockpit crew training.

This meeting will take place in the week of 14 September, says EASA.

“While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, EASA judges the overall maturity of the redesign process is now sufficient to proceed to flight tests,” the European regulator states.

It points out that the scheduling of tests has been hampered by transatlantic travel restrictions.

EASA initially certified the 737 Max 8 in March 2017 and validated the 737 Max 9 in October 2018, before withdrawing its approval in March 2019.

It says it has been “working steadily” in co-operation with Boeing and the US FAA to return the aircraft to service.

EASA insists it will approve such a return “only once it is convinced it is safe”.

737 Max