Boeing is working with the expectation of obtaining certification for the 737 MAX 7, the smallest version of the narrow-body jet, by the end of 2023, however, its launch customer does not think the same way.
According to an executive at Southwest Airlines, the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency of the United States), certification of the model will only take place in April 2024.
Andrew Watterson, the airline’s chief operating office, told Reuters on Thursday that internally the company is working on certification in April and that the first 737-7 will only be delivered between October and November.
Southwest’s forecast goes against reports from Boeing, which saw the possibility of certification occurring as early as November.
The potential new delay further worsens the production scenario for the 737 MAX, which is having enormous difficulties in meeting demand.
Serious problems with the assembly of aerostructures by supplier Spirit Aerosystems made Boeing intervene in the company, injecting financial resources.
The postponement of certification for the 737 MAX 7 is also reflected in the approval process for the 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the aircraft, with up to 230 seats.
With almost a thousand orders, the 737-10 is expected by 2025 by several customers and Boeing states that certification of the jet should take place at the end of 2024.
To do this, the FAA needs to give approval so that flight certification tests can begin, which must occur after the issuance of the 737 MAX 7’s type certificate.