Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told Aviation Week in an interview that the planemaker could be forced to cancel the 737 Max 10 over potential regulatory issues.
Boeing has a December deadline to win approval for the 737 MAX 10 - the largest member of its best-selling single-aisle airplane family. Otherwise, it must meet new cockpit alerting requirements under a 2020 law, unless Congress waives it. Calhoun's comments could put more pressure on Congress.
"If you go through the things we've been through, the debts that we've had to accumulate, our ability to respond, or willingness to see things through even a world without the -10 is not that threatening," Calhoun told Aviation Week, adding that he does not expect to cancel the 737 MAX 10 but said "it's just a risk."
A Boeing spokeswoman confirmed the accuracy of Calhoun's quotes and reiterated the planemaker is "working transparently with the (Federal Aviation Administration) to provide the information they need, and are committed to meeting their expectations and those of our customers to certify and deliver the 737-10."
The 2022 deadline was mandated by Congress as part of broader regulatory reforms at the FAA after fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.
Boeing has more than 640 orders for MAX 10 planes from 17 airlines, Aviation Week said. In June 2021, United Airlines said it would order another 150 MAX 10s.
In March, the FAA warned Boeing it may not win certification of the MAX 10 by the end of the year and asked the company to provide a "mature certification schedule." Boeing declined to comment on its current certification schedule.
Unlike other Boeing aircraft, the 737 lacks the Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System known as EICAS.
Missing the deadline could require Boeing to revamp the jet's crew alerting system and mean separate pilot training.
Calhoun told Aviation Week: "I think our case is persuasive enough. This is a risk I'm willing to take. If I lose the fight, I lose the fight."