SEATTLE- US plane manufacturer Boeing has submitted a request to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an exemption from crucial safety standards concerning the 737 MAX 7, the smallest member of Boeing’s latest jet family.
The move comes after a defect was discovered in the engine anti-ice system of earlier MAX models, raising concerns about potential catastrophic consequences, including the breakup of the engine nacelle, reported Seattle Times.
Boeing 737 MAX 7 Certification Hurdles
In response to Boeing’s request, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) in August, restricting the use of the engine anti-ice system due to the identified flaw.
The defect poses a risk of the nacelle breaking off, endangering passengers, and compromising the plane’s control.
Allied Pilots Association spokesperson Dennis Tajer expressed dissatisfaction with the interim solution approved by the FAA, emphasizing the need for a more reliable safety measure.
Aviation Safety Challenges Certification
As the FAA considers Boeing’s exemption request, the Foundation for Aviation Safety, led by former Boeing manager Ed Pierson, has raised objections, urging the FAA not to certify the MAX 7 until the safety defect is rectified.
The foundation highlights concerns about the FAA’s safety culture and the potential risks associated with certifying an airplane model with a known catastrophic failure.
If the exemption is granted, the MAX 7’s certification could proceed, allowing it to enter service with Southwest Airlines (WN), pending Boeing’s development of a permanent fix for the safety issue.
Boeing claims the engine nacelle breakup is “extremely improbable,” and an exemption won’t compromise safety.
The 737 MAX, in service since 2017, has accumulated over 6.5 million flight hours without reported cases of such incidents, according to Boeing.
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