Certifications of MAX 7 and 10 may take hit from 737-9 grounding

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By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 22, 2024, © Leeham News: The grounding of the Boeing 737-9 MAX is likely to delay certification of the 737-7 and 737-10, customers fear.

At a minimum, certification of the 737-7 is likely to shift by months, customers suggest. Certification of the MAX 7 has been repeatedly shifting. Boeing hoped that certification would be achieved in 2022 or 2023. It’s now 2024. In December, Boeing asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an exemption to safety standards for a deicing of the leading edge of the composite engine nacelle. There already was opposition from some pilot unions to this request. Now, with the Jan. 5 grounding of the MAX 9 due to the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 decompression, some believe this exemption won’t be granted.

Flight testing for the MAX 7 is all but done. Boeing hoped to deliver the first MAX 7s to launch customer Southwest Airlines this year.

Flight testing for the MAX 10 is in its early stages. Certification processes were suspended during the MAX grounding, which ended in November 2020. Testing has been slow since because there are only a few MAX 10s available for testing, and due to the slow certification process for the MAX 7. One MAX 10 customer fears certification will be delayed 6-12 months. This would shift deliveries from early 2025 to later in the year or into 2026.

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