FlyersRights.org, the official representative of passengers to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on air safety, has released a detailed White Paper on how Boeing 737 MAX was unwisely certified as safe and has made recommendations on what needs to be done going forward.
The organization on November 1st also filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for release of the technical details of Boeing ungrounding proposals to the FAA. Boeing has predicted the FAA will unground the MAX by year end and the FAA has so far refused to disclose Boeing’s proposed MAX modifications, testing, and pilot training.
The passenger group faults changes in the law in 2005 and 2018, lobbied by Boeing, that removed safety oversight responsibility from the FAA and placed it into the hands of the plane maker industry and Boeing. These changes culminated in an understaffed FAA whose employees often did not have the required training or certification, who could no longer fully supervise Boeing’s safety certification, and who acquiesced to Boeing pressure to quickly certify the MAX.
Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.org, characterized Boeing’s decisions as “profit-focused blunders to unsafely place larger engines on a 50-year-old design, compounded by a deliberate strategy to hide, minimize, and obfuscate changes. The FAA approval process has been revealed as largely self-certifying in a sweeping effort to get the 737 MAX certified quickly, cheaply, and with minimal pilot training. Congress was also complicit in authorizing Boeing self-regulation while ignoring numerous warnings and objections of safety experts. “
The white paper was dedicated to the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes, who have worked tirelessly to seek justice and restore the FAA’s independence from industry.