Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has suggested it could pull the latest model of its 737 MAX, currently in the process of getting its certification, unless it is made exempt from certain safety regulations which come into force in 2023.
More than 600 of the 737 MAX 10, the highest capacity version of this aircraft type, have been ordered by airlines worldwide.
However, there’s a snag - from next year, new aviation regulations are being introduced in the US.
In 2020, Congress passed the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act, stipulating that new planes must comply with the latest crew alert regulations mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to be certified from 2023 onwards.
The 737 MAX range doesn’t include this technology, as it’s based on an aircraft first designed in the 1960s, reports One Mile at a Time.
If the MAX 10 misses the 2022 cut-off for certification, its flight deck would have to be fitted with new safety technology, raising costs and requiring further training for pilots.
The latter requirement would be particularly detrimental, as one of the jet’s biggest draws is that it can be flown by pilots familiar with the 737 without extra training.
In response, Boeing’s CEO, David Calhoun, hinted that the entire project could be pulled if the aircraft isn’t made exempt from the new rules or given an extension until they come into force.
He told Aviation Week:“The [737-10] is a little bit of an all-or-nothing.
“I think our case is persuasive enough [to be granted an extension]... This is a risk I’m willing to take. If I lose the fight, I lose the fight.”
Mr Calhoun added: “If you go through the things we’ve been through, the debts that we’ve had to accumulate, our ability to respond, or willingness to see things through even a world without the MAX 10 is not that threatening.”
He said that, while he doesn’t expect to have to cancel the jet - “I believe the outcome is going to be favourable and that we’re going to have a [737-10] flying out there, regardless of timing” - it is a possibility.
“It’s just a risk,” he said.
Boeing’s 737 MAX series has been under higher scrutiny after two fatal crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX jets occurred in 2018 and 2019 respectively, killing everyone on board.
Both crashes were tied to a design flaw involving the Manoeuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) of the MAX series.
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