The FAA Will Change Aircraft Oversight After the Boeing 737 MAX Crashes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In a hearing with a Senate subcommittee Wednesday, Federal Aviation Administration officials said they would change the regulatory body’s aircraft oversight procedures following two deadly crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8.
The two crashes, one on Lion Air and one on Ethiopian Airlines, happened about five months apart and had striking similarities. Following the fatal accidents, aviation oversight organizations around the world grounded the 737 MAX until further investigations could take place; the FAA was the last to do so. The crashes, in which a software system designed to prevent stalls but possibly confusing the pilots may have played a part, sparked suspicions that the FAA was too lax in its certification of Boeing’s latest short-haul plane.
For years, the FAA has allowed plane manufacturers to self-certify parts of the oversight process for new planes, called Organization Designation Authorization. This process, in which the aircraft manufacturer’s employees perform some of the safety tests and inspections with FAA oversight, reportedly saved the government body time and money.
That practice was examined at Wednesday’s Senate hearing.
Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel III, who testified at the hearing, said the FAA will significantly change the oversight process for new aircraft by July. Speaking in vague terms, Scovel said that the changes would include new ways for the FAA to evaluate the self-certifying process.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that putting manufacturers in charge of their own safety audits was like putting “the fox in charge of the henhouse.” Saying he would introduce regulations to ban the practice of companies self-certifying, Blumenthal stated that “the fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe nor cheap.”
Daniel Elwell, acting administrator of the FAA, said that using the plane manufacturers’ own employees to self-certify the planes has been “part of the fabric of what we have used to become as safe as we are today.” He noted that the FAA would need 10,000 more employees and $1.8 billion in additional funding to have FAA employees do all the labor of the self-certifying process.
In addition to the Senate hearing and the DOT IG’s probe, the Department of Justice is examining whether to bring criminal charges in the matter of the MAX 8 approval procedures.
Featured photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.