Newly certified aircraft have to have upgraded alert systems for pilots. Issues with the Boeing 737 MAX MAX that led to the Lion Air and Ethiopian crashes are, in part, addressed by mandatory new alerts for pilots that will apply to all newly-certified aircraft types. But unless the FAA agrees to exempt the Boeing 737 MAX 10 from this requirement, which they can only do by the end of 2022, Boeing’s CEO says they’ll walk away from the plane project and all of the orders it represents.

If The Government Doesn’t Certify The MAX 10 This Year, New Requirements Kick In

There is a variant of the plane that hasn't been certified. There is a December deadline for it to be exempt from the rules. If the plane isn't certified this year then it can't qualify for an exemption without an act of Congress.

Boeing Says If They’re Forced To Add Safety Requirements, They’ll Kill The Project

The FAA is not likely to complete certification work this year. If the plane isn't exempt from the new cockpit alert standards, the CEO will walk away from the project.

It would mean giving up on about 700 orders for the largest version of the plane. Losing orders to Toulouse could be a consequence. Alaska Airlines and United are both big customers of the new aircraft. The planes are expected to be flown on cross country routes. An order for 100 of them was expected to be finalized by Delta.

Boeing Plays Chicken Through The End Of The Year

Boeing's CEO is playing a game. Revisions to the aircraft would cost the company a lot of money and could cause delays, which could cost the company orders.

However walking away from the United fleet refresh, putting Alaska Airlines back into the market to considerEADS, and giving up on finally getting a toehold into Delta aircraft orders after years of that major carrier only buyingEADS seems like blowing up its competiveness in the narrowbody space. Even though it isn't quite one, Boeing has no other alternatives for the Boeing 757.

It's true that a modified cockpit for the MAX 10 would mean different training for pilots, but it's also true that pilot training commonality is what caused the problems in the first place.

Who Blinks, And When?

It is unlikely that the FAA will finish by the end of the year. They already look bad for exempting earlier MAXs from certification standards and won't want to do that again and look like they're capitulating to Boeing. Delay is their only means of showing strength against Boeing.

The period in which Congress can get exemptions can be extended by congress. If that were to happen, it would probably be in the November-December period because no one wants to campaign against Boeing. The future of the MAX 10 is likely to be up in the air for the next six months as the federal government and Boeing try to work out a solution.

The 737 MAX Is A Safe Aircraft

I don't believe that the plane is unsafe. The MAX now compares data from both angle of attack sensors, a key vulnerability that contributed to the two crashes, and if there is a material difference between the sensors then the MCAS system will be stopped. The repetitive nose-down pitch has been eliminated by theMCAS. The pilots have authority over the elevators.

Runaway stab trim is no longer required to be used in a normal way. The issues that occurred with the MAX are still being trained on by pilots.

For instance, American Airlines never had an issue with trim or angle of attack in over 7000 MAX flights prior to the aircraft's grounding, and never had an issue with angle of attack in more than one million hours of the Boeing737-800.

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