Boeing wants safety waiver for last 737 MAX — RT Business News

The company’s CEO has threatened to scrap the largest jet in the 737 family unless Congress extends a regulatory deadline

Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun called the situation « a bit of all or nothing » as the scandal-ridden aerospace company faces a deadline to get the 737 MAX 10 jet approved by US authorities before new safety standards come into effect next year.

Under the Aircraft Certification, Safety and Liability Act of 2020, all aircraft certified after December 31, 2022 will be required to comply with new Federal Aviation Administration regulations regarding cockpit alerting systems that warn pilots of malfunctions during flight. Amid intense scrutiny of the 737 MAX family in recent years, Boeing is struggling to secure regulatory approval for the plane’s latest and biggest modification before the deadline.

In an interview with Aviation Week magazine this week, Calhoun said he hoped the company wouldn’t have to go so far as to cancel the project entirely, but acknowledged there was still a « risk. »

“It’s a risk I’m willing to take. If I lose the fight, I lose the fight,” Calhoun said, indicating that Boeing is adamant about pushing for the jet’s approval without a crew alert system upgrade.

The company believes that the entire MAX family should be exempt from the latest safety standard. Unless Congress extends the deadline or grants a waiver, Boeing will have to do a costly redesign of the MAX 10 cockpit and offer a separate training program for its pilots.

The 737 MAX family has come under unprecedented scrutiny after Boeing’s best-selling jetliner was universally banned from flying following two fatal crashes just six months apart. In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff, killing 189 people. In March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.

Faulty sensors and inadequate pilot training: Ethiopia releases damning report on Boeing 737 MAX crash

Investigators ultimately attributed the problem to the 737 MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The software was intended to make the aircraft easier to handle, but its behavior in non-standard situations had not been properly explained to the pilots. It took Boeing several years to get the troubled plane back into the skies by addressing safety issues and securing vital approvals from aviation regulators around the world.

A 2019 internal FAA investigation also found the regulator was far too lax in how it handled aircraft testing and effectively allowed Boeing to conduct its own inspections with limited oversight. Although the agency claimed that Boeing did not notify the government of the MCAS-related issues, it concluded that a closer look at the multibillion-dollar company could have identified the problem.

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