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S. Korea to lift ban on Boeing 737 Max flights

South Korea decided to lift the flight ban on Boeing 737 Max later this month, the land ministry said Friday, more than two years after its grounding following the crashes involving the same model in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said its flight will be cleared for passage through the territorial sky, landing and takeoff, from Nov. 22.

South Korea put a ban on the B737 Max on March 2019, after the one operated by Ethiopian Airlines plunged to the ground killing 346 people in March 2019.

Another B737 Max flown by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed in October 2018, killing everyone aboard.

After a yearlong monitoring of the B737 Max planes, which have resumed flights in other countries, and based on the opinions gathered from aviation and other experts, the government concluded the safety issues have been cleared, according to the ministry. Since November last year, B737 Max airplanes around the world flew more than 506,330 hours, with the cumulative flights counted at 206,856, and there have been no safety-related issues found, the ministry said.

Investigators at the time determined the B737 Max planes in the crashes had a faulty sensor called the angle of attack (AOA), which made the planes automatically fly downwards and caused them to plummet.

Boeing has taken on the task to improve the overall mechanisms, including the cockpit computer system, the AOA sensors and other software.

The flight ban on B737 Max has been lifted in 179 countries, according to the land ministry. As of early this month, 31 air carriers in 22 countries had put the plane model into operation.

In South Korea, Eastar Jet, a low-cost carrier undergoing court process for a merger, is the only player that operates the B737 Max. Korean Air Lines Co., the national flag carrier, and other budget carriers like Jeju Air Co. and T'way Air Co., are expected to consider bringing the model to its fleet, after having delayed the plan over the safety issues. (Yonhap)