The final report on the Boeing 737 MAX, released Wednesday by a legislative committee in the United States, finds “repeated and serious failures” by both Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The report’s introduction begins with the story of Paul Njoroge, a Kenyan living in Canada who testified before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure after losing his wife, her mother and Njoroge’s three children in the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.
The 238-page document quickly moves into key factors that contributed to the Boeing 737 MAX crash, including design flaws, profit and production priorities at the expense of safety, and a pattern of Boeing influence on the FAA’s regulatory decisions.
“Our report lays out disturbing revelations about how Boeing—under pressure to compete with Airbus and deliver profits for Wall Street—escaped scrutiny from the FAA, withheld critical information from pilots, and ultimately put planes into service that killed 346 innocent people. What’s particularly infuriating is how Boeing and FAA both gambled with public safety in the critical time period between the two crashes,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from the U.S. state of Oregon. The Ethiopian Airlines flight followed the 2018 crash of Indonesia’s Lion Air Flight 610.
DeFazio said the report recommendations are meant to provide a roadmap to reinforce safety and transparency. Committee co-chair Rick Larsen of Washington added that the victims of the two crashes, their families and the general public have the right to expect U.S. officials to act.
“The Committee’s thorough investigation uncovered errors that are difficult to hear, but necessary to confront about the 737 MAX certification,” Larsen said. Meanwhile, the 737 MAX aircraft remain grounded; the FAA published in August a notice of proposed rulemaking that requires design changes for the Boeing 737 MAX before it returns to service.
Image: Ethiopian Airlines file