In a new report, the US Department of Transportation says there is “a lot of work to do” to determine how the aviation body certifies new aircraft.
The US Department of Transportation Inspector General criticized “weaknesses” in the US government’s certification of the Boeing 737 MAX which was grounded for 20 months after two crashes killed 346 people, according to a new report.
The 63-page report released Wednesday said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not have a full understanding of a Boeing Co safety system linked to the two crashes.
He also said that “a lot of work remains to be done to address the weaknesses of the FAA guidelines and certification process” and cited “the weaknesses in management and oversight”.
The 737 MAX entered commercial service in the United States in December after the FAA approved changes Boeing made to an automated flight control system involved in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Boeing agreed to a $ 2.5 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice in January in the MAX as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, a form of corporate plea bargaining.
The FAA agreed to implement all 14 recommendations in the Transport Department report and said it “has already made substantial progress in implementing reforms that address some of your recommendations.”
Boeing said it has “undertaken significant changes to strengthen our safety practices, and we have already made progress” on the recommendations set out in the report.
The report mentioned “instances where the same company engineer worked on a particular design and then approved the design” as a Boeing employee performing certification tasks for the FAA.
The report adds that the FAA needs to do more to ensure that personnel responsible for certification tasks “are sufficiently independent”. This was the second report from the Inspector General’s office on fatal accidents. The first, released in June, revealed that Boeing had failed to submit documents to the FAA.
In December, Congress passed a law reforming the way the FAA certifies aircraft, especially the long-standing practice of delegating certain certification tasks to manufacturers.
The report urges the FAA to “incorporate lessons” from accidents into “the implementation of a risk-based approach” by delegating oversight and said the reforms “will be vital to restore confidence in the certification process. of the FAA and ensure the highest level of safety in future certification efforts. “.
The new law strengthens FAA oversight of aircraft manufacturers, requires disclosure of critical safety information and new protections for whistleblowers.
The law requires an independent review of Boeing’s safety culture.
The FAA said it was encouraging manufacturers to engage earlier in “their development process to provide the agency with a better understanding of new features.”
It also works with other civil aviation authorities “to assess the certification requirements of derived aircraft, thereby ensuring a consistent global approach to safety and similar assessment and treatment of design changes.”