Congress Takes Up FAA, Boeing And Aviation Oversight In Hearings

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A worker enters a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane during a brief media tour of Boeing's 737 assembly facility, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Renton, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/AP)
A worker enters a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane during a brief media tour of Boeing's 737 assembly facility, Wednesday, March 27, 2019, in Renton, Wash. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to revamp oversight of airplane development after the two deadly crashes of Boeing’s new 737 Max.

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Alan Levin, reporter for Bloomberg News covering aviation. (@AlanLevin1)

From The Reading List

Bloomberg: "How Boeing and the FAA Plan to Restore Public's Faith in 737 Max" --  "After two deadly crashes in five months, Boeing Co. is embarking on a campaign to restore confidence in the 737 Max so that its best-selling jet can return to the skies.

"In Renton, Washington, the company is gathering customers and news media Wednesday to walk through the details of a software update designed to help pilots more easily avert conditions that investigators have linked to an October disaster in Indonesia. The stall-prevention software is also under scrutiny in a second deadly crash this month in Ethiopia.

"Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the Federal Aviation Administration will brief lawmakers on its oversight of Boeing’s fixes to the 737 Max — and how officials plan to scrutinize safety testing more closely in the future."

Politico: "Chao pledges answers to 'troubling' questions surrounding 737 MAX" — "Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao acknowledged Wednesday that "troubling" questions have arisen about the FAA's dealings with industry following two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes, but she defended the agency's professionalism amid questions from a Senate panel.

"'I am of course concerned about any allegations of coziness with any company, manufacturer, whatever,' Chao told members of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee during a morning hearing on the White House's budget request for her agency. 'The FAA is a professional organization. ... But these questions, when they arise, if they arise, are troubling.'

"Chao noted that the Ethiopian government is in charge of the accident investigation and that the United States is represented in the probe by the National Transportation Safety Board. She also pointed to two actions she has taken related to the accidents: asking the DOT inspector general for an audit of the certification of the 737 MAX 8 and creating a special advisory committee to seek to improve the FAA's safety oversight and certification processes."

CNBC: "FAA to face heat in Congress after deadly crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max" — "Lawmakers will question U.S. aviation safety officials on Wednesday afternoon about how their agency approved the Boeing 737 Max aircraft that has been involved in two fatal crashes in five months.

"The Senate’s Commerce subcommittee’s hearing, scheduled for 3 p.m. ET, is the first since the U.S. joined dozens of other nations in grounding the planes earlier this month. Panel members are likely to raise questions about a plan for a software fix to the jets that Boeing said it gave the Federal Aviation Administration in January.

"'We want to know how Boeing, how private companies, are involved in the FAA certification process,' Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who chairs the Senate Commerce subcommittee on Aviation and Space, told CNBC’s 'Squawk Box ' on Wednesday. 'Why didn’t that process catch this problem if that was the cause of the accident and what needs to be done to make sure these planes are safe to fly?'

"Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell, the Transportation Department’s Inspector General Calvin Scovel and Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, are scheduled to testify Wednesday."

Stefano Kotsonis produced this segment for broadcast.

This segment aired on March 28, 2019.



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