LONDON – In the aftermath which has followed in the week since the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide, many serious questions have arisen on the aircraft’s safety.
The US Government is now questioning the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounds in certifying Boeings, fast selling, re-engined variant of the Boeing 737, as potential defects in the aircraft’s control software spark further questions on the safety of the plane.
US Department of Transportation
Following 2 fatal accidents of the Boeing 737 MAX within such a short period of time, the U.S. Department of Transportation today confirmed that Secretary Elaine L. Chao has requested that as part of the DOTs ongoing review into the many and varied factors related to aircraft certification, the Inspector General should conduct an investigation into the certification process for the Boeing 737-MAX 8.
This investigation will consider whether any factors were overlooked during the certification process for the aircraft type, which was certified by the FAA on March 8th 2017 following a rigorous flight test programme which began in January 29th 2016.
In a written memo to the Department of Transportation, Secretary Elaine L. Chao wrote: “Safety is the top priority of the Department, and all of us are saddened by the fatalities resulting from the recent accidents involving two Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia.”
“As you know, Boeing requested an amended type certification for this aircraft in January 2012, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued the certification in March 2017.”
“To help inform the Department’s decision making and the public’s understanding, and to assist the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively, this is to confirm my request that the Office of Inspector General proceed with an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft. Please keep me apprised of the status of your work as it progresses.”
Since the crash of Ethiopians 737 MAX on Sunday 10th of March 2019, steps have been taken to establish the cause of the crash, and to bring changes to any of the systems which may have contributed to the crash.
In the last week deliveries of the Boeing 737 MAX have been suspended, with many airlines searching for alternatives to fill the massive void that has been left in the aftermath of last weeks grounding.
Whilst speculation continues as to the exact fact, the investigation into the crash continues at a pace.
French investigation authority BEA has undertaken the job of extracting the data from the Ethiopian 737 MAX flight data recorders and the black box.
This data will then be used by investigators and their teams to determine the exact cause and the scenario leading up to crash.
Worldwide Effect of MAX Groundings…
As operators around the world found themselves having to ground their Boeing 737 MAXs last week, the effect on the industry has been profound.
With airlines such as Norwegian Air forced to cancel a whole host of it’s transatlantic flights, and scale back on certain operations.
US low-cost carrier Southwest airlines grounding 31 of the type, resulting in significant cancellations across their network.
The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX looks to carry on well into the coming weeks and months. With Canadian flag carrier, Air Canada confirming the airline will not resume operations using their Boeing 737 MAXs until July at the earliest.
Questions surrounding the aircraft’s safety, along with concerns regarding the certification process, continue to dent confidence in the Boeing 737 MAX.
As the investigation continues, the MAX will remain grounded for the foreseeable future.