Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Boeing, FAA data sought by US lawmakers in new safety probe

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – US House transportation leaders are seeking new records from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration on production of 737 Max and 787 aircraft as a result of safety issues that have arisen recently.

Both aircraft have been plagued by problems that include electrical components in the Max and the construction of the carbon-fiber structure on the 787.

Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat who is chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Representative Rick Larsen, a Washington Democrat who leads the aviation subcommittee, issued a press release on the request Tuesday (May 18).

“In light of these new and ongoing issues that point to problems in maintaining quality control and appropriate FAA oversight of production issues, I will thoroughly and deliberatively investigate any issues, such as those affecting the 737 Max and the 787, that may endanger public safety,” DeFazio said in the release.

The request is being made to the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing. It comes after the committee spent more than a year investigating the two fatal accidents involving the Max that killed 346 people and led to its worldwide grounding.

Those disasters were linked to a design flaw separate from the issues now under investigation.

“We are reviewing Chair DeFazio’s and Representative Larsen’s request and will make every effort to respond to them as quickly and completely as possible,” the FAA said in an emailed statement.

Boeing issued a statement saying, “We’ve received the letter and are reviewing it.”

The relationship between the planemaker and its federal regulator have at times been tense since the second Max accident in March 2019 in Ethiopia prompted an 18-month grounding of the plane.

The FAA is reviewing the latest issue on the 737s – an improper installation of electrical equipment as a result of a manufacturing change – to determine why it wasn’t discovered for almost two years, the agency said last month.

Similarly, investigators working for DeFazio’s committee have been critical of FAA and Boeing for decisions they made during the design and certification of the Max.

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