August 07, 2020

Chairs DeFazio and Larsen Statements on Results of 2019 FAA Employee Survey on Safety Culture

Washington, D.C. — Today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) released the following statements after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fulfilled their request for a copy of a 2019 survey of FAA employees about the agency’s safety culture. DeFazio and Larsen requested the survey last month as part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

“The FAA employee survey results are damning, and much like what we’ve uncovered in our own investigation, reflect a disturbing pattern of senior officials at a Federal agency rolling over for industry. That’s especially disturbing to see when it comes to Boeing, which, as we know now, pushed a plane through a broken regulatory process that resulted in the deaths of 346 innocent people,” Chair DeFazio said. “It’s now incumbent upon the FAA to do something with the results of this employee survey. As Chair Larsen and I stressed to FAA Administrator Dickson in our request last month, the simple act of conducting the survey means nothing if the results aren’t fully analyzed and corrective steps aren’t properly and aggressively implemented.

“Furthermore, the FAA needs to honor and complete our Committee’s outstanding records requests in a timely manner so we can get a full understanding of critical gaps in the regulatory system. The Committee is still waiting for all the records Subcommittee Chair Larsen and I requested from the FAA in April 2019 when we began our investigation of the 737 MAX. For more than one year, the FAA has been unable or unwilling to even inform the Committee where they are in the process of completing their responses to the Committee on these requests. As I’ve repeatedly made clear, these records are key to the legislation we are wrapping up soon to address the broken regulatory system and ensure safety always comes first for anyone involved in the aviation system.”

“The results of the FAA’s employee survey confirm my significant concerns about the agency’s safety culture,” said Chair Larsen. “It is disheartening to see the agency’s own employees lack the confidence in leadership to make sound, safety-driven decisions. As Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure the integrity of the aircraft certification process and FAA’s critical safety work.”

Background: The Committee launched an investigation into the design, development, and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX following the second crash involving the aircraft in March 2019. To date, the Committee has held five public hearings; obtained more than 600,000 pages of documents from Boeing, FAA, and others; and interviewed dozens of current and former Boeing and FAA employees. For more information on the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX, click here.