NEW YORK, July 8 ― Boeing's CEO said the company could cancel the 737 MAX 10 if regulators don't certify the jet before new crew alerting system standards take effect in December, according to a report yesterday.
The airplane manufacturer confirmed comments by Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, who told Aviation Week that shelving the MAX 10 “is not that threatening” in light of some of the other challenges the company has faced in recent years.
“The (737-10) is a little bit of an all-or-nothing,” he told the publication.
Calhoun has previously spoken hopefully of solving the problem, which could be resolved by Congress if the plane is not certified in time.
But the Federal Aviation Administration has been taking longer to approve Boeing planes after criticism of the agency in the wake of two fatal crashes of earlier versions of the 737 MAX that left the plane grounded globally for more than a year.
A December 2020 law enacted by the US Congress required the FAA to only certify planes equipped with a flight crew alerting system designed to help pilots prioritize warnings and advisories activated during flight.
The alerting system in the 737 MAX 10 shares the traits in the earlier MAX planes and does not meet the new standards. Boeing has argued the benefit of the MAX 10's “commonality” with earlier versions of the jets, which enables pilots experienced in earlier version of the MAX to easily transition to the MAX 10.
The system requirement under the 2020 law ― which was passed amid criticism of both Boeing and the FAA after the MAX crashes ― takes effect on December 27, 2022, effectively establishing a two-year exemption for jets already in the certification process.
The requirement can be extended only by new US legislation, setting the stage for what Aviation Week described as a “looming standoff” between Boeing and Congress.
“As we have said, we are working transparently with the FAA to provide the information they need, and are committed to meeting their expectations and those of our customers to certify and deliver the 737-10,” a Boeing spokesperson said. “Safety remains the driving factor in this effort.”
The FAA declined to give a timetable for the MAX 10.
“Safety dictates the timeline of certification projects,” an FAA spokesperson said. “We cannot discuss ongoing certification projects.”
Michel Merluzeau, an aviation expert at AIR Inc, said cancellation of the MAX 10 could result in a year of lost production on the jet. Even more important, such a move would position rival Airbus to make further gains in the narrow-body airplane market, he said. ― AFP