Could Boeing CEO forsake 737 Max 10 amid an impasse with Congress?

Boeing’s CEO David Calhoun has made it understood that the 737 Max 10 could be canceled if the aerospace company cannot get its biggest version of the MAX family certified by the end of the year, which stems from an aviation safety bill that requires flight deck system changes; or have Congress extend the deadline, according to a report from Aviation Week Network.

If neither is granted, Boeing would have to remake the flight deck system, adding an alert system, which would do away with its current design, which is similar to its other MAX aircraft.

Boeing has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration to certify the aircraft so that it would not have to install any pricey updates to the alert system for pilots.

Calhoun told Aviation Week Network that the aircraft is an all-or-nothing endeavor and that he is willing to take the risk as the company’s case is persuasive, saying, “If I lose the fight, I lost the fight.”

While the company is pressing forward in the certification process, he asserts that a cancellation of the aircraft has not been ruled out.

There are more than 600 aircraft orders at risk from 18 customers.

Calhoun told the AWN directly, “If you go through the things we’ve been through, the debts that we’ve had to accumulate, our ability to respond, or willingness to see things through even a world without the -10 is not that threatening.”

While the standoff with Congress is ongoing, Calhoun is still optimistic about the aircraft.

Calhoun’s talk about doing away with the 737 Max 10 puts pressure on Congress to possibly give a needed extension as a two-year window to an aviation safety bill draws near. If the aircraft is unable to be certified by the FAA, complying with the latest flight-crew-alerting system regulations, Boeing contends this would add unneeded expense and pilot training to a safe baseline design.

Boeing was given a two-year grace period to allow the MAX 7 and MAX 10 to earn FAA approval as they were the only aircraft affected by the 2020 law. Because the certification process is more rigorous and the aerospace giant has had difficulty meeting the FAA’s demands, the law has become an issue for the 737 Max 10.

While Congress is in charge of the issue, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has asked the FAA to weigh in. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who is head of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is against any relief.

DeFazio has amplified calls to hold the company culpable for its two deadly 737 MAX crashes, and urged an overhaul of the FAA.

While the idea of a canceled 737 MAX 10 is in the air, Calhoun believes the company has a strong case to certify the aircraft without an enhanced crew-alerting system.