Boeing is very close to obtaining type certification for the 737 Max 7, the smallest version of the single-aisle jet family.
According to Aviation Week, the FAA, the US civil aviation authority, is expected to grant approval for the aircraft between November and December.
The forecast opens up the possibility of the 737-7, as it is also called, finally entering service in early 2024. According to sources at the outlet, the type certification could be issued as early as November.
The release of the model for commercial flights should also be followed by the start of formal certification tests for the 737 MAX 10, the largest version of the aircraft ever developed, capable of carrying up to 230 passengers.
For the FAA inspection phase to begin, when certification flights are carried out, a list of requirements must be met, of which Boeing would have already obtained 70% of them.
The plan is for the 737-10 evaluation program to last about a year, with type certification issued by the end of 2024. This would allow Boeing to deliver the first jets in the first quarter of 2025.
According to the planemaker, there were 1,071 gross orders until September, of which 963 were net orders for the 737 MAX 10.
The 737-7, in turn, had 319 gross orders (291 net), before Southwest Airlines placed an additional order for 108 aircraft.
Time between maiden flight and type certification
The US airline is the launch customer for the 737 MAX 7 and planned to receive them from 2023. In a review of its fleet modernization plan, Southwest now expects to have 27 aircraft next year.
The failures that led to the crash of two 737 MAX 8s in 2018 and 2019 made the FAA certification process extremely careful and carried out entirely by the agency, unlike before when Boeing itself carried out some assessments of its planes.
A sign of the change is the time between the maiden flight and the type certification of the MAX 8 and MAX 9 models. The first version obtained FAA approval in just over 13 months while the second in just 10 months.
If it obtains the type certificate in November, the 737 MAX 7 will have taken more than 2,000 days to be approved for commercial operation. The 737 MAX 10 could exceed 42 months if certified in December 2024.