In an "Axios on HBO" interview airing on Monday, Kelly defended the highly scrutinized Boeing plane, which the Federal Aviation Administration says will be allowed to fly again after certain modifications are made.
"We wanted to carry out a totally independent analysis of the safety of this aircraft, so we performed our own checks and flight tests", Executive Director Patrick Ky told the Paris Air Forum, an online aviation conference hosted by La Tribune.
The Max was grounded 20 months ago following two crashes in a space of five months that killed 346 people.
Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian hinted at the possibility of purchasing Boeing Co's 737 MAX, which was recently approved to fly again by U.S. regulators, in an interview to the Financial Times today.
The move came after numerous U.S. congressional hearings on the crashes that led to criticism of the FAA for lax oversight and Boeing for rushing to implement a new software system that put profits over safety and ultimately led to the firing of its CEO.
The crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia triggered a slew of investigations faulting Boeing for poor design and the FAA for lax oversight. Basically they will examine if the changes in the FAA AD are adequate or more needs to be done - the stand taken by the Europeans. "It is clear that there were a number of dysfunctions in (FAA) actions and their relations with Boeing", Ky said.
Backing by European regulators is seen as key to Boeing's effort to gain global support for the aircraft, after the Max crisis damaged the FAA's reputation as the leader in air safety.
Investigators found that the crashes were caused by faulty sensors that pushed the aircraft's nose downward in flight.