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Following the debate about FAA and Boeing certification practices, I was wondering whether Europe could potentially require the Boeing 737 Max to be certified by a European agency. Is a FAA certificate de facto valid in other countries ? Or are all planes required to be certified by local authorities too ?

Update : Despite FAA certification being valid throughout the world, it appears EASA will conduct its own review of the fixes implemented by Boeing. It is not a proper re-certification, but the plane will have to comply with EASA in order to be able to fly again in the European airspace. More about this here (FT paywall).

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    $\begingroup$ To answer the assumption behind your question, the 737 Max is quite airworthy. Boeing mucked up the information dissemination part, with tragic results, and did worse by not reacting to the first incidents, but that's on the company, not the plane. The plane would have no problems passing its certifications again, and is quite safe to fly, if only the pilots learn it like a new type rather than just another 737. $\endgroup$ – Therac Apr 4 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ In your question, do you mean whether it's legal for a US airline, or person, to fly an FAA-certified plane to France, or whether a French airline can buy a FAA-certified plane and fly it in France? Those are covered under different rules. $\endgroup$ – user71659 Apr 4 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @user71659 Whether it's legal for anyone to fly a FAA certified plane in the EU for example. $\endgroup$ – Stanislasdrg Reinstate Monica Apr 4 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ This may change quickly in the near future. 737 Max incident actually hurts FAA's credibility quite a bit. Those countries that doesn't maintain their own certification agency would probably seek some diversity than blindly endorsing FAA's certification. $\endgroup$ – user3528438 Apr 4 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Stanislasdrg You didn't answer the question. Do you mean a) Can American Airlines fly a Boeing to France or b) Can Air France buy a Boeing and fly it in France? The country in which the plane is owned and registered determines the situation. $\endgroup$ – user71659 Apr 4 at 21:04
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It's valid in countries that choose to accept it as de-facto valid but sovereign nations are free to require local certification if they like. The reality is that the FAA has a huge amount of resources at its disposal and for smaller nations is advantageous to simply say we agree that those people know what they are doing and we can't afford to do it any better.

However Boeing does hold an EASA Type Certificate for the 737 as well as the FAA issued one but if you dig into it you will find a lot of "see FAA TCDS" notes. With that said the 737 is certified by European agencies currently. A good chunk of regulations even stem from the FAA work, the best example of this is in the EASA TCDS where EASA changed some regulations to the FAA spec.

However, to harmonize with the FAA, the same requirement was moved to JAR 25.810(a)(1)(ii) at Change 14 which is now in CS25.810(a)(1)(ii).

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Dave. Do you know if the EASA could ask for a re-certification of the Aircraft ? $\endgroup$ – Stanislasdrg Reinstate Monica Apr 4 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Stanislasdrg that may be a good topic for another question but broadly the answer is no: most governing authorities will issue AD's to rectify problems. In some cases aircraft can be grounded until an AD is issued to rectify the problem. They can revoke Airworthiness Certs for non compliant aircraft but if the TC is approved and the aircraft conforms to it, it may be hard to ground it. This is why TC are worth so much in the industry $\endgroup$ – Dave Apr 4 at 20:00

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