US authorities question Boeing 777X certification, at least until 2023

Written by David Shepardson

June 27 (Reuters) – The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has told Boeing that its 777X is not yet ready for a significant certification step, warning that it will not be “realistically” cleared until mid to late 2023.

The FAA, in a May 13 letter to Boeing seen by Reuters, noted a number of issues in refusing a manufacturer’s request to issue a Type Inspection Authorization (TIA).

“The aircraft is not yet TIA ready,” the FAA wrote, refusing to approve “a limited-range TIA with a small number of approved flight test plans.”

The letter, which has not been released before, cites several concerns about the lack of data and the paucity of the initial safety assessment that the FAA will have to review.

“The FAA will not approve any aircraft unless it meets our safety and certification standards,” the agency said in a statement Sunday.

Boeing has been developing the wide-body plane, a new version of its popular 777, since 2013 and is expected to be launched for airline use in 2020.

A Boeing spokeswoman said Sunday that the company “remains fully focused on safety as our top priority throughout the development of the 777X.”

The 777X will be the first major airliner to be certified, as software flaws on two Boeing 737 Max aircraft have led to fatal accidents and sparks between the company and the Federal Aviation Administration. (Covering by David Shepardson. Editing in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)

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