EVERETT – A Boeing Co-executive has said it does not need to redesign the cockpit crew alerting system on its upcoming 737 MAX 10 jet, as the US aircraft maker is running to complete its certification before the one-year deadline.
“I personally don’t believe there’s any point in replacing the 737,” Mike Delaney, Boeing’s chief space safety officer, told reporters at its headquarters north of Seattle.
There is no data that says it is safe to switch to another system, Delaney said, adding that the company is still evaluating its options.
U.S. aircraft makers face increasingly high-level battle to win certification for the 737 MAX’s largest variant before a new safety standard takes effect on cockpit warnings.
The deadline for change was introduced in the Federal Aviation Administration in 2018 and 2019 as part of a larger regulatory reform after the fatal 737 MAX crash.
To miss the deadline, Boeing may have to redesign Jet’s crew alerting system, which could mean separate pilot training – increasing airline costs and jeopardizing orders.
Delaney’s comments came during a media event where Boeing unveiled new pilot training equipment and a revised data-sharing system.
The efforts are part of a long-term global security initiative, first reported by Reuters in 2019, to reduce the risk of crew facing two 737 MAX crashes.
The event was scheduled for the release of an annual safety report, which is necessary for the legal settlement of the fatal 737 MAX crash of 2021.
Boeing has also separated the positions of CEO and board chair, and is developing an ombudsman program to manage the certification of Boeing staff to raise concerns.
Delaney, a Boeing veteran who took over the security role more than a year ago, told reporters an ombudsman had been selected but had not yet begun work. He did not agree to name the person.
Boeing has added six new board members, with expertise in engineering, safety and supplier management, and restructured its engineering rankings.
The 737 MAX 10 is Airbus’ most powerful-selling model, competing with the A321neo-jets, which aim for a fast-growing market share of over 200 seats.
Unlike other Boeing aircraft, the 737 does not have an engine indicating and crew alerting system known as EICAS, which complies with FAA regulations.
Agency Partners analyst Nick Cunningham says the 737 MAX flight deck should be equipped with a state-of-the-art crew warning system that has been available on other manufacturing aircraft for decades.
“It is amazing that one of the world’s most populous commercial aircraft, which could be in service by the 2060s, could be certified without a modern crew warning system,” Cunningham said.
The agency has discussed with some lawmakers the need for more time, but has not formally requested an extension to resolve the flight deck issue. Only Congress can extend the deadline if the FAA does not certify MAX before the end of the year.
“People like the opposite of design change and never think about the negative,” Delaney said. (Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, edited by Jerry Doyle and Jonathan Otis)