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Congressional Inquiry Blames Boeing and FAA for Serious Failures Leading to Deadly 737 Max Plane Crashes

A congressional inquiry into Boeings troubled 737 Max airplane blamed both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a series of serious failures that “played instrumental and causative roles” in two fatal crashes of the plane, which left 346 people dead, including eight Americans.

The House Transportation Committee on Wednesday released an investigative report (pdf) produced by Democratic staff, which concluded: “The Max crashes were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake, or mismanaged event. They were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeings engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeings management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA.”

The committee, in the course of its 18-month investigation into the design, development, and certification of the 737 MAX, found that both Boeing and FAA share responsibility for the development and certification “of an aircraft that was unsafe.”

The report documents what it says is “a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments” by Boeing, combined with “numerous oversight lapses and accountability gaps by the FAA.”

Lion Air flight 610 crashed in October 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed in March 2019. Both carriers were flying the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Epoch Times Photo An Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT) official examines a turbine engine from the Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Nov. 4, 2018. (Beawiharta/Reuters)

House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) in a statement accused Boeing of placing profit ahead of safety.

“Our report lays out disturbing revelations about how Boeing—under pressure to compete with Airbus and deliver profits for Wall Street—escaped scrutiny from the FAA, withheld critical information from pilots, and ultimately put planes into service that killed 346 innocent people,” he said.

The issues highlighted in the report include production pressures that jeopardized the safety of the flying public, faulty design and performance assumptions, a culture of concealment, and excess influence of Boeing over the FAAs oversight structure.

“On behalf of the families of the victims of both crashes, as well as anyone who steps on a plane expecting to arrive at their destination safely, we are making this report public to put a spotlight not only on the broken safety culture at Boeing but also the gaps in the regulatory system at the FAA that allowed this fatally-flawed plane into service,” DeFazio said.

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