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Boeing CEO says 737 MAX still has a chance to win approval this year

Boeing CEO says 737 MAX still has a chance to win approval this year
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Written by David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said on Thursday there is still a chance for US regulators to approve the 737 Max 10 before the end of the year and believes the company will win approval for the smaller 737 Max 7 in the coming months.

Boeing (NYSE:) faces a late-December deadline set by Congress to win certification of its two MAX variants before the new safety standard on cockpit alerts takes effect.

“We are working on finishing. There is a chance, but there is also a chance that it won’t,” Calhoun told reporters on the sidelines of an aviation event. Calhoun said he believes the FAA will approve the 737 Max 7 before the end of the year.

If necessary, Calhoun said, Boeing would seek “some kind of extension” and file a case based on a “safety argument to win.”

Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said earlier Thursday that the agency would not stick to a timeline for approval of the Boeing 737 Max 7 or 10.

“We’re working through it as purposefully as possible and we’ll get it done when we get it done,” Nolen said.

Some Boeing customers and analysts don’t think there is enough time left for the FAA to complete certification tasks before the MAX 10 deadline, but they believe the MAX 7 may win approval later this year.

Calhoun said reviewing the MAX 7 required a significant documentary effort in order to win approval and “proof that it’s the process as opposed to the product.”

Ryanair told Reuters in August that Boeing apparently accepted it would not be able to certify its Max 10 planes by the end of the year, but US lawmakers could still give it more time.

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Nolen said Congress has asked Boeing to provide system safety analyzes as part of the Aircraft Certification Reform Bill of 2020 and that the FAA must approve it before the planes can be approved. “It’s a very heavy payload and it’s a heavy load for Boeing,” Nolen said.

Congress could choose to waive cockpit alert requirements or grant Boeing an extension. “We’ll let the ten take any time to do it safely,” Nolen said. “The decision as to whether or not to bypass the New Year is up to Congress.”

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