Reports over the weekend, following a US airlines meeting with the FAA Friday, are saying that the FAA chairman has told airlines they will be able to fly the 737MAX before mid-year.
This has caused consternation coming only a week after Boeing told everyone that it wouldn’t be airborne before July.
The US majors have been pressing the FAA to let the aircraft fly and it looks like that, in combination with lobbying and subtle pressure from the Administration, have finally worn the FAA down.
The reports which have been confirmed as accurate, worry analysts and commentators across the spectrum of aviation safety, who worry the FAA is jumping too soon and risking its already battered reputation. It had won begrudgingly, praise for its solid and unbending approach to date, which seems now to have crumbled.
The FAA is barely recovering from acknowledging its own simulations expected crashes in the first two years and up to 15 over the next 30 years based on the originally certified MAX design.
The FAA’s decision when it comes, will only affect the United States, no other authority is likely to go along with such a quick re-certification.
The comments also put Boeing in a difficult situation – if they don’t think it can fly before July, why does the FAA?