Boeing 737 Max crash: New report outlines the major problems of the airline

A new report published by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the United States on Wednesday, September 16 noted that the two fatal crashes that killed 346 people aboard Boeing’s 737 Max and led to the worldwide grounding of the plane resulted from the “horrific culmination” of engineering flaws, mismanagement and a severe lack of federal oversight.

According to the New York Times, the report which condemns both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A) for safety failures, concludes an 18-month investigation since the tragic incidence occurred.

 

“This is a tragedy that never should have happened,” Representative Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, the committee chairman, said. “It could have been prevented, and we’re going to take steps in our legislation to see that it never happens again.”

 

In contrast, representative Sam Graves of Missouri, the committee’s top Republican, said that while change was needed, congressional action should be based on nonpartisan recommendations, “not a partisan investigative report.”

 

Nonpartisan recommendations refer to the decisions free from party affiliation, bias or designation.

The report comes a few weeks after the airline signed its first deal with Enter-Air Poland’s biggest charter carrier.

Furthermore, the report identified five broad problems with the Boeing’s planes of the model in question over design, construction and certification.

The problems include, the race to compete with the new Airbus A320neo which led the company to make production goals and cost-cutting a higher priority than safety, the Democrats argued.

Secondly, the company made deadly assumptions about software known as MCAS, which was blamed for sending the planes into nosedives (A plunge of an aircraft with the forward part pointing downward).

According to the company, the software was designed to enhance the pitch stability of the airplane and thus fly like other 737s.

Besides, the report pointed out that Boeing withheld critical information from the F.A.A.  Similarly, the agency’s practice of delegating oversight authority to Boeing employees left it in the dark. And finally, the Democrats accused F.A.A. management of siding with Boeing and dismissing its own experts.

“These issues must be addressed by both Boeing and the F.A.A. in order to correct poor certification practices that have emerged, reassess key assumptions that affect safety and enhance transparency to enable more effective oversight,” the committee said.

In a statement, Boeing said it had learned lessons from the crashes and had started to act on the recommendations of experts and government authorities.

“Boeing cooperated fully and extensively with the committee’s inquiry since it began in early 2019,” the company said in a statement. “We have been hard at work strengthening our safety culture and rebuilding trust with our customers, regulators and the flying public.”

The revised Max design has received extensive review, Boeing said, arguing that once the plane is ready to fly again, “it will be one of the most thoroughly scrutinized aircraft in history.”

The F.A.A. said in a statement that it would work with the committee to carry out any recommended changes and was already making some of its own.

“These initiatives are focused on advancing overall aviation safety by improving our organization, processes and culture,” it said.

Last month, the agency announced plans to require a number of design changes to the Max before it can fly again, including updating MCAS and rerouting some internal wiring.

Rwanda is among the countries across the world that has banned Boeing’s plane model in question from flying over its airspace.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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