The company’s CEO has threatened to ax the largest plane in the 737 family unless Congress extends a deadline to let it fly under the old safety rules, which are due for an update in December.
But it was those lax old rules which may have caused the ‘corner cutting’ and deadly crashes of the planes.
Now Boeing is demanding, as a vital flagship US industry, that the new safety rules be waived in its case, or be delayed so it can qualify under the old rules.
The company believes the entire MAX family should be exempt from the latest safety standard.
If MAX 10 is not certified in time, and unless Congress extends the deadline or grants a waiver, Boeing will have to conduct a costly redesign of the plane’s cockpit and come up with a separate training program for its pilots.
Boeing is also one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers and is presently booming as the US, NATO and other Western states provide Ukraine with weapons and renew their stocks.
The 737 MAX family has faced unprecedented scrutiny after Boeing’s best-selling jetliner was universally banned from taking to the skies following two deadly crashes just six months apart.
In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff, killing 189 people.
In March 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.
Investigators eventually traced the issue to the 737 MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The software was intended to make the plane easier to handle, but its behavior in non-standard situations had not been properly explained to pilots.
It took Boeing several years to get the troubled aircraft back in the sky by addressing security concerns and obtaining vital approvals from aviation regulators across the world.
An internal probe conducted by the FAA in 2019 also found that the regulator was far too lax in how it handled testing for the aircraft, and effectively allowed Boeing to perform its own inspections with limited oversight.
While the agency claimed that Boeing had failed to notify the government about the MCAS issues, it concluded that greater scrutiny of the multi-billion-dollar corporation may have identified the problem.