DALLAS – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not expect Boeing to meet the 737-7 aircraft’s December 27 certification deadline, delaying the program and potential deliveries to airlines once again.
The Boeing 737-7 is the shortest variant of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft family. The type’s design comes from the Boeing 737-700. The new aircraft is intended to increase passenger capacity and comfort, along with an improvement in fuel efficiency over its predecessor and an increase in range of up to 3915 nautical miles.
The type was first announced by Boeing at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow and was expected to enter service for the first time in 2019, but the constant issues surrounding the entire MAX program have delayed the certification for three years now.
Acting FAA Administrator, Billy Nolen, stated that it “does not appear” that the Boeing 737-7 will be certified by the end of 2022. He states that the FAA cannot continue any certification work on the airplane after late December without actions from Congress.
The Boeing 737-10 program is also struggling. Boeing expects to begin the -10 FAA certification flights in 2023, wishing to start with deliveries in the coming two years.
Delays After Delays
Since the first launch of the MAX program in 2011, this Boeing product has secured a total of 5,200 orders from airlines and leasing companies but has only managed to deliver 950 aircraft, less than a fifth of the total ordered. This would get worse after the two 2018-19 fatal crashes involving the Boeing 737-8.
In March 2019, Boeing decided to reduce the MAX production from 52 to 42 units per month. In January 2020, the airframer would stop the assembly due to a lack of cash and space to ground all the undelivered airplanes.
In the coming years, with the increased strictness and rigorousness of the FAA to certify the future MAX aircraft ahead of delivery, the deadlines were no longer respected by the manufacturer, hence the continuous delays to introduce both the Boeing 737-7 and 737-10 MAX into service.
These delays have resulted in 1,198 cancellations from airlines and lessors, with some switching to the competing Airbus A320neo family.
Featured Image: Daniel Gorun/Airways