October 8, 2019 / 6:05 PM / 7 days ago

Europe says assessing 737 MAX software, downplays talk of split

FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past unpainted Boeing 737 MAX aircraft seen parked in an aerial photo at Renton Municipal Airport near the Boeing Renton facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said on Tuesday it was still assessing proposed changes to Boeing (BA.N) software for the grounded 737 MAX and had yet not found anything that would undermine hopes for a coordinated return to service.

“EASA is still assessing the latest Flight Control Computer software - the work is ongoing and not completed yet,” an agency spokeswoman said by email.  

“We do not at this stage have any specific concerns resulting from that assessment that would mean that we could not agree to a coordinated return to service. We are in continuous contact with both the FAA and Boeing.”

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that European safety concerns and disagreements over software could prolong vetting of the changes and prompt European regulators to withhold full support when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ultimately clears the planes for commercial flight.

The EASA spokeswoman did not comment directly on the report, but added: “As we have said in the past, we are conducting an independent review of the whole aircraft following a methodical approach. We would like to see the 737-MAX return to service as soon as possible but only once we are convinced it is safe. This position has not changed.”

Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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