Revisiting the convoluted politics of certifying the last 737 Max models

Political posturing and legislative maneuvering take center stage in 737 Max 7 and 10 certification.

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This post appeared as part of our Three Points Newsletter on October 8, 2022

Every official signal points to a bumpy last leg of certification for the 737 Max 7 and Max 10, which are now both sliding later into 2023, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Air Current reported in July that Boeing and the FAA were already planning Max 10 flight tests for the first quarter of next year. Now, Reuters reports that the FAA’s expectation is a certification of the 737 Max 10 no earlier than summer 2023. Key milestones for the Max 10 remain outstanding, including its FAA Type Inspection Authorization, which formally initiates the FAA’s participation in flight trials and an ongoing crew alerting study by the FAA and European regulators.

With the aircraft certification reform bill passed in 2020 mandating a comprehensive cockpit alerting system on any transport aircraft cleared by the FAA after December 2022, Boeing is on the hook for a potentially major revamp for the Max 10 — unless it gets relief from the U.S. Congress.

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