Bloomberg has reported that, even well before the debut of the 737 MAX 8 and the crash of ET302, Boeing had a considerable degree of input into the approval of its new aircraft types. It is also reported that the FAA delegated its responsibilities in terms of aircraft safety out to Boeing itself.
In the wake of the crash of ET302, it has been revealed that aircraft manufacturer Boeing wielded a significant amount of input into the approval process of its new planes, Bloomberg reports. The outlet states that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) staff raised their concerns about the amount of input that Boeing was permitted to exercise back in 2012.
These longstanding concerns were investigated by the Department of Transport (DoT), who said that the FAA has not properly held Boeing to account.
Additionally, it has also been revealed that FAA employees who wished to express concerns over any of Boeing’s new designs feared being punished if they spoke out. Early this week, it was reported by The Seattle Times that, “Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) managers pushed the agency’s safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing itself, and to speedily approve the resulting analysis.”
Furthermore, Bloomberg reports that, “In recent years, the FAA has shifted more authority over the approval of new aircraft to the manufacturer itself, even allowing Boeing to choose many of the personnel who oversee tests and vouch for safety. Just in the past few months, Congress expanded the outsourcing arrangement even further.”
The cause of the crash of ET302 has not yet been ascertained, but there are concerns that a flaw in the plane’s software – namely, its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – may have played a part in the incident.
Boeing has reiterated that the 737 MAX 8 was compliant with all safety standards.
However, in a statement to Bloomberg, Jim Hall, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said that this revelation, “…raises for me the question of whether the agency is properly funded, properly staffed and whether there has been enough independent oversight.”
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