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MONTREAL, CANADA - Pilots from Boeing and Transport Canada conducted on August 26 a flight test of the 737 MAX jetliner, grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes.

The test of safety upgrades comes roughly two months after another flight evaluation by the US Federal Aviation Administration. It marks another crucial step in Boeing's long-delayed path to resume commercial service of the jetliner.

The flight took off from King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field, around 8:45 am local time, Flight Aware data showed.

The Canadian tests are part of the regulator's "independent review" on whether to validate Boeing's proposed changes to the aircraft, Transport Canada has said.

Transport Canada said it was taking special precautions because of Covid-19, with its employees returning to British Columbia after components of the testing, including evaluations on the engineering simulator at Boeing and the flight test in US airspace.

The 737 MAX was grounded in March 2019 after crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed 346 people.

Boeing told analysts in late July that MAX deliveries would resume in the fourth quarter, a fresh delay of several weeks that raises the prospect that its US return to service could slip into 2021.

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