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No data to support changing 737 MAX 10 cockpit alerting, Boeing executive says


No data to support changing 737 MAX 10 cockpit alerting, Boeing executive says

A Boeing Co  executive said there was no need to revamp the cockpit crew alerting system in its forthcoming 737 MAX 10 jet, as the US planemaker races to complete its certification before a year-end deadline.

"I personally have no belief that there's any value in changing the 737," Mike Delaney, Boeing's chief aerospace safety officer, told a small group of reporters at its factory north of Seattle.

There's no data that says switching to another system is safer, Delaney said, adding that the company was still evaluating its options.

Boeing is facing an increasingly high-stakes battle to win certification for the largest variant of the 737 MAX before a new safety standard on cockpit alerts takes effect.

The deadline for changes was introduced as part of broader regulatory reforms at the Federal Aviation Administration after fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019. 

Missing the deadline could trigger require Boeing to revamp the jet's crew alerting system. That would most likely mean separate pilot training - raising costs to airlines and putting orders at risk.

Delaney's comments came during a media event Boeing hosted at its Everett campus north of Seattle, where it unveiled new pilot training tools and a revamped data-sharing system.

The efforts are part of a long-term global safety initiative, first reported by Reuters in 2019, to reduce risks such as those faced by the crews in two 737 MAX crashes.

The event was timed to the release of an annual safety report, required by 2021 legal settlement over fatal 737 MAX crashes.

The settlement also required Boeing to separate the CEO and Board chair positions, which it has done, and create for at least five years an ombudsperson program to provide Boeing employees conducting airplane certification work with a way to raise work-related concerns.

Delaney, a Boeing veteran who took on the safety role more than a year ago, told reporters an ombudsman had been selected, but had not yet started the job. He declined to name the person.

Boeing has also added six new board members with expertise in engineering, safety and supplier management, and restructured its engineering ranks.

The 737 MAX 10, the largest variant of the 737 MAX family, competes with Airbus' (AIR.PA) strongest-selling model, the A321neo. Both planes are aimed at the fast-growing segment of the market just above 200 seats.

Boeing is entrenched in broader certification and industrial headaches across its jetliner portfolio.

The company has held talks with some lawmakers about asking for more time, but has not formally sought an extension to address the flight deck issue. Only Congress can extend the deadline if the FAA does not certify the MAX before the end of the year.

Unlike other Boeing aircraft, the 737 lacks the Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System known as EICAS, which complies with the FAA regulation.

"People love the upside of design changes and never thinking about the downside," Delaney said.

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