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House Report Condemns Boeing and FAA in 737 Max Crashes


F.A.A. management came in for severe criticism over its response to the crashes. In December, the report said, Ali Bahrami, the F.A.A.’s associate administrator for aviation safety, told committee staff members that he was unaware of an internal assessment produced after the first crash that had predicted 15 more over the lifetime of the Max fleet if MCAS was not fixed.

The report also said the agency was “inexplicably slow” in turning over records.

“The F.A.A. was actually more frustrating” than Boeing, Mr. DeFazio said on a call with reporters. “I’m not sure that we ever got all of the email chains we wanted. They claimed to have a very primitive old computer system.”

The report faulted Boeing for a lack of transparency, driven in part by a desire to play down the need for simulator training for pilots. Under a 2011 contract with Southwest Airlines, for example, Boeing had promised to discount each of the 200 planes in the airline’s order by $1 million if the F.A.A. required such simulator training for pilots moving from an earlier version of the aircraft, the 737NG, to the Max. That, the committee argued, created an incentive for Boeing to withhold critical safety information from the agency.

“This report lays bare the lie that Boeing cares about safety or the hundreds of lives they have ruined,” said Yalena Lopez-Lewis, whose husband, Army Capt. Antoine Lewis, died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. “Boeing cut corners, lied to regulators, and simply considers this the cost of doing business.”

Democrats declined to provide details of prospective legislation, but said they were working on bipartisan reforms that could be passed before the end of the year.

“We are working closely with Republicans in the hope of coming to an agreement on a reform proposal in the very near future,” Representative Rick Larsen of Washington, the chairman of the aviation subcommittee, told reporters.

In a statement, Boeing said it had learned lessons from the crashes and had started to act on the recommendations of experts and government authorities.



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