Daily Management Review

US watchdog is accused of violating aircraft certification process


Criticism of the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States (FAA) is growing in the United States. It is connected to certification process of the Boeing 737 Max 8 model, which has been involved in two accidents in the past six months. According to the US media, during the tests, the FAA has provided the Boeing company itself with a broad authority to assess safety, which raises questions about objectivity of the tests. Moreover, it is reported that this practice has been used in certification of other liners, for example the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

American regulators in the field of civil aviation (Federal Aviation Administration, FAA) has already received a considerable amount of criticism for delay in suspending operation of the Boeing 737 Max 8 after a crash in Ethiopia. Now, the negative has been unleashed once again. This time, the American media said that during the safety tests and certification of the new Boeing 737 Max 8, the FAA engineers actually transferred most of the security assessment authority to Boeing engineers. At the same time, during the initial tests, deficiencies in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) were revealed, which, according to the latest investigations, is one of the most likely causes of the disaster in Ethiopia.

This was reported by the newspaper The Seattle Times, based in the city of Seattle, where Boeing corporation was founded and the vicinity of which hosts its largest plant. In turn, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Ministry of Transport has issued a subpoena for submitting documents to at least one person in charge of developing the Boeing 737 Max 8.

US media reported about possible violations during the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8. These messages have already prompted the Canadian Transport Ministry to announce start of revision procedure for its admission to flights of this airliner on Monday evening. 

Also, The Seattle Times reported that the FAA could provide authority for final safety assessments not only during the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8, but also other aircraft of the American corporation. It is reported that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner tests were also reassigned to the company's engineers in 2013. As is known, in 2013–2014 several cases of overheating of batteries in this plane took place at several airlines, which caused criticism of Boeing. According to the newspaper, back in the mid-1990s, the FAA was criticized for allowing Boeing itself to control security tests during the certification of the 777 model.

The sharp criticism of Boeing after a crash in Ethiopia last week has already led to a 12% decline in its shares. Some analysts have already suggested that problems for investors may be much bigger than it seems. “I think the current news background (regarding Boeing) is worse than ever,” said Richard Aboulafia, an expert in the airline industry of the Teal Group consulting company.

source: seattletimes.com, barrons.com