The FAA Will Issue Every Boeing 737 MAX Airworthiness Certificate

The FAA has said that it will exclusively issue airworthiness certificates for the Boeing 737 MAX following its return to service. Previously, Boeing had been able to issue its own airworthiness certificates when aircraft were completed in Seattle.

Boeing 737 MAX, FAA, Airworthiness Certificate
The FAA will take on responsibility for certifying that each Boeing 737 MAX is airworthy. Photo: Boeing

In mid-December, the Boeing 737 MAX will have been grounded for nine months. However, Boeing is hoping that the FAA will recertify the Boeing 737 MAX by the end of the year. This would allow the American aircraft manufacturer to recommence deliveries of the aircraft in December of this year. However, each Boeing 737 MAX will now have to be certified by the FAA one by one prior to delivery.

In the public interest

According to Reuters, the FAA sent a letter to Boeing informing them of its decision regarding the issuance of airworthiness certificates to individual aircraft. The letter is reported to have said:


“[The FAA] has determined that the public interest and safety in air commerce require that the FAA retain authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all 737 MAX airplanes.”

Boeing 737 MAX, FAA, Airworthiness Certificate
Boeing was hoping to resume 737 MAX deliveries in December. Photo: Boeing

While Boeing has been able to issue airworthiness certificates for the Boeing 737 MAX up until now, the process will now be completed by the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result, each 737 MAX airframe will be certified as airworthy by the FAA before leaving the planemaker.

What does Boeing think?

Up until now, Boeing has been able to individually certify that its aircraft were airworthy. Now, however, the FAA will exclusively perform that role until “[Boeing has] fully functional quality control and verification processes in place”.


At the time of writing, Boeing had yet to respond to a request for comment from Simple Flying. However, a Boeing spokesperson told Reuters,

“We continue to follow the lead of the FAA and global regulators. They will determine when key milestones are achieved and when the fleet and training requirements are certified so the MAX can safely return to service.”

Boeing 737 MAX, FAA, Airworthiness Certificate
Boeing has built up a backlog of the aircraft waiting to be delivered. Photo: Boeing

What’s next?

Boeing has built up quite the backlog of 737 MAX aircraft awaiting delivery. In fact, no aircraft have been delivered since March, although aircraft have still been constructed. This means that many aircraft are sat in Seattle waiting to be delivered. They are even sat in car parks.

Once the aircraft’s grounding is lifted the FAA will now be tasked with issuing an airworthiness certificate to each aircraft before they are delivered, either within the US or abroad. As other aviation authorities may want to certify the aircraft themselves, this may be a simpler process within the US. After all, the FAA wouldn’t issue an airworthiness certificate if it didn’t want the aircraft flying.

When do you think the Boeing 737 MAX will return to the skies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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…it looks as if the days of cozy friendship between Boeing and the FAA are over…


Not the worst scenario for Boeing. An amplified check by native authorities could mitigate concerns on the upcoming aircrafts. After all, if all air authorities prepare scrutinize every single plane they have jurisdiction may lead to unforeseenable outcomes.

High Mile Club

Letting Boeing self-certify is what got them in this mess in the first place. Airworthiness should solely be in the hands of the regulators, and it’s gonna be a while before Boeing has decent quality control.


Self certification is here to stay. Boeing just needs to comply with the process and a few more FAA inspectors need to developed and left free to be sniffing around. ODA is not really self certification it allows the FAA to pass specific aspects of certification back to Boeing when Boeing specifically detailed what that was.

Grant Percival

Boeing requires the customer to be there for every build and to sign acceptance that the aircraft meets specification. This is a massive change as now FAA is going to supply quality assurance and that shall require a massive workforce not just at the assembly plant but also along the supply chain otherwise they are at risk.

Niklas Andersson

Why Boeing self-inflected ( certified ) themselves… weird… It doesn’t sound Boeing at all.

Let Boeing Engineer their Aircraft themselves not be led by politicians and Mytomaniac CEO.

Boeing did a good job until by the past, and challenged Airbus by Knowledge and Safety… not by EGO and Money.


Just curious, how does it work for AIrbus? Does the EASA certify the aircraft or does Airbus self-certify also.


Will Congress fund what this mandates in the FAA budget?