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US lawmakers' panel slams Boeing for hiding design defects in 737 MAX 8 jets

BusinessToday.In     September 16, 2020

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been slammed in a report by the US House of Representatives transport committee for hiding design-related flaws in its 737 MAX jet both from the regulator and the pilots. The panel report also said that Boeing prioritised profits over other things in its rush to compete with rival Airbus.

Various design failures during the development of Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet led up to the "preventable death" of 346 people in two crashes involving Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia's Lion Air. Boeing has been under scrutiny since these two crashes happened within a span of five months. Following this, the 737 MAX 8 has been grounded worldwide since March 2019.

Boeing 737 MAX 8s are operated in India by two airlines - Jet Airways and SpiceJet. With such a report coming up, things may turn more challenging for these two domestic carriers amid ongoing fund crunch and coronavirus-related woes.

The committee also came down hard on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It identified many deficiencies in the regulator's approval process for new jets.

"[The two crashes] were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing's engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing's management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the [Federal Aviation Administration] - the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA with respect to its responsibilities to perform robust oversight of Boeing and to ensure the safety of the flying public," the report said.

"The fact that a compliant airplane suffered from two deadly crashes in less than five months is clear evidence that the current regulatory system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repaired," the report noted.

Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said, "Obviously the system is inadequate. We will be adopting significant reforms." Investigators said they found various instances in which Boeing concealed information from the FAA and airlines.

Also read: Boeing, FAA in talks over new production defect in 787 Dreamliner

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