The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reiterated that the Boeing 737 MAX-7, the smallest variant in the 737 MAX family, will not be certified in 2022, with the aircraft now potentially getting the stamp of approval in 2023.
Billy Nolen, the FAA’s Acting Administrator, stated that “it does not appear” that the aircraft will get its certification papers by the end of the year, as reported by Reuters.
The regulator’s words are in line with what Boeing has previously stated. The manufacturer’s Commercial Airplane division’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) indicated during the Boeing Investor days in November 2022 that the company has been working with the FAA and anticipated that the smallest 737 MAX variant will be certified in early 2023.
Previously, though, Boeing hoped the 737 MAX-7 would be given the green light by the FAA in 2022. In September 2022, Boeing’s chief executive David Calhoun said he was still hopeful that would be the case. Calhoun’s comments at that time came a week after the FAA’s Nolen said he “is not going to commit to a timeline” to certify either of the two 737 MAX variants that still require approval.
Boeing is now facing the prospect of two of its jets failing to comply with a law that would require certified aircraft to have modern alert systems. The law will go into effect on December 31, 2022, which will then require the plane maker to equip both the 737 MAX-7 and the 737 MAX-10 with systems that comply with the Aircraft Certification, Safety and Accountability Act (ACSAA).
The Boeing 737 MAX-7 first flew on March 16, 2018, when it began its flight-testing program. At the time, the manufacturer expected the FAA to certify the aircraft in 2019. Following the two fatal accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia that claimed the lives of 346 people, the program was suspended until 2022.