Boeing withdraws request for 737 MAX 7 safety exemption

Render of a Boeng 737 MAX 7 in flight
Image Credit: Boeing

Boeing has withdrawn its request to the FAA for a safety exemption to permit the certification of its 737 MAX 7 aircraft.

The US plane manufacturing giant had originally requested the US aviation regulator grant an exemption to allow it to expedite delivery of its 737 MAX 7 variant to customers.

The exemption related to an engine housing anti-ice system component which technically did not meet official safety standards.

The manufacturer has faced considerable scrutiny with respect to its quality and manufacturing standards following an in-flight incident on January 5, which saw an aft cabin door plug assembly detach on a 737 MAX 9 variant during a commercial flight.

Boeing confirmed on Monday January 29 that it will now withdraw the request that it made to the FAA seeking the safety standard exemption for the MAX 7 which it had made last year.

An NTSB officer inspects damaged Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 interior.
Photo Credit: NTSB

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Comments by US Senator Tammy Duckworth

Last week U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), the chair of an aviation subcommittee, had expressed her opposition to Boeing’s request for exemption which would “prematurely allow the 737 Max 7 to enter commercial service.”

Duckworth had sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urging the agency to reject Boeing’s petition requesting an exemption from safety certification standards to prematurely allow its 737 MAX 7 aircraft to enter commercial use before fixing a known safety flaw that could have catastrophic consequences on passenger safety.

In their meeting, Duckworth pushed Boeing to prioritize fixing this flaw instead of effectively putting profit over the safety of the flying public by trying to rush even more aircraft with this defect into the aviation system.

“It’s absurd that instead of prioritizing fixing a safety flaw that could lead to catastrophic consequences for passengers and crew aboard Boeing 737 MAX jets, the company is instead seeking an exemption to allow more aircraft with the same exact safety defect to enter commercial use,” said Duckworth last week.

Senator Duckworth pointed out that the component which Boeing was seeking safety exemption for “involves an anti-ice system that can overheat and cause the engine nacelle to break apart and fall off.”

Conclusion

In advising their subsequent decision to withdraw their exemption request with the FAA, Boeing stated to Dow Jones Newswires late on Monday, January 29:

“While we are confident that the proposed time-limited exemption for that system follows established FAA processes to ensure safe operation, we will instead incorporate an engineering solution that will be completed in during the certification process.”

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