The first 737 MAX to take to the sky with passengers will today (Wednesday December 9:th) be flown by GOL, Brazils largest domestic airline (127 jets whereof 7 are MAX). It is a cautious move, they so far have not stated which route and passengers are allowed to switch to other equipment, should they want to.
American is planning a flight before years end New York- Miami.
On the east side of the Atlantic the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) expects to clear the MAX in Januari 2021. It will be a lengthy process with a long follow-up of the aircrafts performance once cleared.
What they will look for before ungrounding is listed below.
Software updates for the flight control computer, including the MCAS
Software updates to display an alert in case of disagreement between the two AoA sensors
Physical separation of wires routed from the cockpit to the stabiliser trim motor
Updates to flight manuals: operational limitations and improved procedures to equip pilots to understand and manage all relevant failure scenarios
Mandatory training for all 737 MAX pilots before they fly the plane again, and updates of the initial and recurrent training of pilots on the MAX
Tests of systems including the AoA sensor system
An operational readiness flight, without passengers, before commercial usage of each aircraft to ensure that all design changes have been correctly implemented and the aircraft successfully and safely brought out of its long period of storage.
So, after almost two years, there is hope for the future, but the costliest ever, in history worldwide, company bad luck – read mismanagement – has all but ruined the company economically, surviving on military contracts and some sales of 767, 777 and freighter versions of 747-8. In excess of 60 billion USD, it has surpassed the previous number one, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig owned by BP. The difference is that BP survived without loosing a lot of public trust. Boeing has a longer road ahed. So does FAA for their role in what is an unprecedented aviation industry management catastrophe.