AA Pilots Oppose Deadline Extension to Certify Max 7, Max 10

 - October 6, 2022, 9:01 AM
American Airlines flies 42 Boeing 737 Max 8s and holds delivery positions on another 88 Maxes. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-SA) by TDelCoro)

The union representing the pilots of American Airlines has expressed opposition to any extension to the late December deadline Boeing faces for certifying the Max 7 and Max 10 without the addition of an engine indicating and crew alerting system (EICAS) to their flight decks. A law passed in December 2020 in the U.S. known as the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act (ACSAA) will require Boeing to install the system in both models unless they gain certification by the end of the year or Congress allows for an extension. Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, proposed an amendment to this year’s defense appropriations bill that would give Boeing until September 2024 to complete its work on the two airplanes before the ACSAA provision that calls for EICAS takes effect.

“Boeing needs to proceed with installing modern crew alerting systems on these aircraft to mitigate pilot startle-effect and confusion during complex, compound system malfunctions,” said Allied Pilots Association president Edward Sicher. “Once these systems are installed and pilots have been properly trained on them, our crews will be better able to identify system failures and prioritize corrective actions that could save lives.”

American Airlines flies more than 300 Boeing 737s, including 42 Max 8s, and holds delivery positions on another 88 Maxes. The airline hasn’t specified whether or not its delivery plans involve any Max 7s or Max 10s.

“We oppose any extension of the exemption and don’t agree with Boeing’s claim that pilots could become confused when moving from an airplane without the modern alert system to one that is equipped with it. Nothing could be further from our flight deck reality,” added Sicher. “Consider the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767; they’re substantially different airplanes, yet operate under a single certificate. Pilots have routinely flown both on the same day without any confusion.”

For its part, Boeing continues to cite safety as the “driving factor” in the certification effort and laments the safety compromise that the loss of commonality between various submodels of the 737 would cause by a need to install an EICAS in the Max 7 and Max 10.

“Safety gains in commercial aviation over several decades have demonstrated that a consistent operational experience across an airplane family is an industry best practice that benefits flight crews and the flying public by enhancing safety and reducing risk,” Boeing said in a statement to AIN.