Boeing has TAKEN a crucial further step towards gaining European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) approval to carry up to 149 passengers in its 737-700 and 189 passengers in its 737-800, the JAA confirms.

The Authority's Board has just reviewed recommendations from the JAA Committee about Boeing's proposal for an innovative overwing emergency-exit in its Next-Generation 737 series (Flight International, 9-15 July, P6). The Board says that more testing is required although it has approved the Committee's approval process so far. The JAA says that it hopes to achieve certification for the -700 on schedule by the end of September.

The Committee has been employing a certification philosophy known as "equivalent safety finding" (ESF), which the Board has now ratified for use in certificating cabin-safety components for the Next Generation 737 series and all future proposed modifications. The JAA, however, describes the cabin certification process as "a package", and will not identify individual items as being specific remaining hurdles. The areas under review, however, include:

- further tests for the new Type III exits (overwing emergency exits) by comparing them with existing door mechanisms;

- cabin seating stressed to 16g must be proven to comply with Joint Aviation Requirements;

- meeting regulations for access to Type III exits by removing the outboard passenger seat near the exit has been denied, leaving the only compliance option as a wider space between the seat-rows leading to the exits;

- door-warning requirements for the flightdeck are to be finalised.

The JAA has added that the criteria now established for approving the new series 737s should be applied to other manufacturers. Finally, it is to review the existing airline option of meeting Type III exit access criteria by removing an adjacent seat.

Source: Flight International