A new congressional report has blamed two deadly Boeing 737-MAX crashes on “repeated and serious failures” by Boeing and air safety regulators.
The 18-month probe by congressional investigators for the House Transportation Committee examined the crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines MAX aircraft that claimed a total of 346 lives.
Both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had been accused of serious lapses which contributed to the crashes.
“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,” said committee chairman Peter DeFazio.
The report said Boeing made “faulty design and performance assumptions”, especially surrounding a key computer safety system called MCAS, which was linked to both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.
The report criticised Boeing for withholding crucial information from the FAA and the airlines and pilots that flew the planes unaware of flaws which turned out to be fatal.
It has become apparent that many pilots were not even aware the planes they were flying had MCAS system software and had never received training in its use.
In a statement, Boeing said it has “learned many hard lessons from the accidents and from the mistakes we have made”.
The report said the FAA was also at fault in that it “failed to ensure the safety of the travelling public”.
“This is a tragedy that never should have happened,” DeFazio told reporters. “We’re going to take steps in our legislation to see that it never happens again.”
The big question remains though: Will flyers put their lives in the hands of Boeing and the FAA again if the 737-MAX returns to the skies?