The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that Boeing’s new 737 MAX 10 model has begun its flight testing certification process with the granting of a type inspection authorisation. 

The authorisation means that the aircraft manufacturer can now begin a flight testing program that will count towards certification of the model with the participation of FAA pilots. 

FAA confirmation of the step comes after reporting on a letter sent to Boeing employees that hailed the certification as a “significant milestone” for the company. 

Reuters reported on a letter signed by Mike Fleming, Boeing’s senior vice president for development programs, Ed Clark, 737 program head, and Wayne Tygert, the testing lead. 

It said: “This is a significant milestone as we work to get the 737-10, the largest airplane in the 737 MAX family, certified to enter passenger service with operators around the world.” 

While the FAA’s certification usually marks the beginning of a certification process, there is now a set timeline for the full approval of the model, and the FAA added “safety will dictate the certification timeline.” 

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The 737 MAX 10 is the largest plane of the single-aisle 737 MAX family with a seating capacity of between 188 and 204 and a length of 43.8m, though the plane has the smallest range in the group at 3,100nm. 

The aircraft has already been popular with airlines ahead of its launch, with Ryanair placing an order for up to 300 of the planes in May in an order worth around $40bn.