US transport department faults aviation body over Boeing 737 MAX

The United States Department of Transportation inspector general has faulted “weaknesses” in US government certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that was grounded for 20 months after two crashes killed 346 people, according to a new report.

The 63-page report released on Wednesday said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not have a complete understanding of a Boeing Co safety system tied to both crashes.

It also said “much work remains to address weaknesses in FAA’s certification guidance and processes” and cited “management and oversight weaknesses”.

The 737 MAX re-entered commercial service in the US in December after the FAA approved changes that Boeing made to an automated flight-control system implicated in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Boeing agreed to a $2.5bn settlement with the US Department of Justice in January into the MAX as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, a form of corporate plea bargain.

The FAA agreed to implement all 14 recommendations in the Department of Transportation report and said it “has already made substantial progress towards implementing reforms that address some of your recommendations.”

Boeing said it has “undertaken significant changes to reinforce our safety practices, and we have already made progress” on recommendations outlined in the report.

The report noted “instances where the same company engineer worked on a particular design and then approved the design” as a Boeing employee conducting certification tasks for the FAA.


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