Boeing is working to fix a newly discovered problem with software powering up on the 737 Max, adding to the list of tasks the aircraft maker faces to get the grounded plane back in the air.
The new software intends to have the 737 Max's two separate flight computers communicate with each other for the first time.
The issue involves how a software system on the plane checks to ensure that data it is receiving from other monitors are functioning properly, said a person familiar with the issue who wasn't authorized to speak about it.More news: 'Maman Dion,' mother of singer Celine, dies at 92
"We continue to work with other worldwide aviation safety regulators to review the proposed changes to the aircraft", the agency said in an emailed statement.
Boeing has been working for more than a year on fixing software to ensure that a flight-control system that pushes down the nose automatically - and was linked to both fatal crashes - is safe.
On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded the company's long-term ratings to "A-' from 'A". The software problem was discovered during the final validation review process of the software updates being installed on the plane, the person said. ABC News reported the issue early Friday.More news: Barack Obama Posts Sweet, Candid Photos To Celebrate Michelle Obama’s Birthday
The planes have been grounded around the world since March 2019 following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people. A USA official briefed on the matter said Friday the FAA is now unlikely to approve the plane's return until March but it could take until April.
The issue was discovered during a technical review that normally happens near the end of the software-development process, a sign that Boeing could be close to finishing changes created to get the plane back in the air. At least two said they wouldn't put their own families on the plane.
US and European aviation safety regulators met with Boeing in an effort to complete a 737 MAX software documentation audit that was begun in November.More news: Explosion in a Chemical Plant in Spain
Boeing still must finish the software package, conduct one or more demonstration flights with FAA experts on board, and bring in airline pilots to test the changes it is making. Pilots in both cases were able to temporarily maintain control, but eventually the jets entered steep dives and crashed.