Boeing has lost its capability to approve individual 737 MAX jets for flight after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) barred the manufacturer from issuing its own airworthiness certificates under its organisational designated authority (ODA). The agency said it would reserve the authority to issue the certificates until Boeing puts in place “fully functional quality control and verification process.” Previously, the FAA shared the responsibility with Boeing to issue certification prior to delivery.
“The FAA will retain such authority until the agency is confident that, as a minimum, Boeing has fully functional quality control and verification processes in place: delivery processes are similarly functional and stable; and Boeing’s 737 MAX compliance, design, and production processes meet all regulatory standards and conditions for delegation and ensure the safety of the public,” the agency stated in a letter to Boeing on November 26.
The issuing of this certificate represents the final FAA action affirming the airworthiness of each newly manufactured aircraft. The FAA’s action does not affect MAX aircraft already certified before the MAX’s grounding in March. But operators must comply with all the changes required by an FAA airworthiness directive the agency will issue as part of its requirements for the model’s return to service.
Boeing had hoped that the grounding would have been lifted by the end of 2019, but the FAA has not completed its review of Boeing’s design changes and proposals for associated pilot training. “The agency will not approve the aircraft for return to service until it has completed numerous rounds of rigorous testing,” it added. “The FAA will take all the time it needs.”