November 18, 2020

Chairs DeFazio and Larsen Statements on the FAA’s Decision to Unground the Boeing 737 MAX

Washington, DC - 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:

Chair DeFazio:

“While Congress has no direct role in today’s decision, I am grateful that the FAA last year agreed to the request from Chair Larsen and myself to stand up an independent panel of experts—the Technical Advisory Board, or TAB—to review Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 MAX, the FAA’s acceptance of those changes, and to assess whether those changes remedy the design errors that resulted in two deadly crashes. After all, it is critical for the FAA to get this right. We can never forget that 346 people died as a result of an inadequate regulatory oversight system and a manufacturer that put profits over safety, and all of us, from Congress to the FAA to every manufacturer, must be committed to making changes to enhance safety and ensuring the story of the Boeing 737 MAX is never repeated.

“To that end, I’m pleased that just yesterday the House passed our bipartisan bill, the 'Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act.' This legislation was borne out of an urgent need to address the findings from our Committee’s final report on the design, development, and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, which detailed serious problems at both Boeing and the FAA—from faulty designs and performance assumptions, to conflicts of interest and a culture of concealment. I urge my Senate colleagues to work with us to finalize a bill and send it to the president’s desk without delay, and to continue the rigorous oversight that exposed so many flaws in the system. The sooner Congress acts, the sooner we can help prevent tragedies such as Lion Air flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 from happening again.”

Chair Larsen:

“The FAA’s decision to unground the 737 MAX is good news for us in the Pacific Northwest. The decision provides some certainty to the aerospace jobs in Northwest Washington, despite the downturn in aviation travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The United States is the leader in global aviation, and the FAA’s actions in the U.S. have profound implications for air travel around the world. I am confident safety was the guiding principle in the FAA’s review and decision to unground the Boeing 737 MAX. At my first opportunity, I will fly in a MAX airplane.

“For nearly two years, the families of the 346 victims of the two tragic 737 MAX crashes championed necessary reforms to the U.S. aircraft certification process to ensure no other families experience such unthinkable loss. Yesterday, the House passed our bipartisan aircraft certification bill, which uses lessons learned from the Committee’s thorough investigation and the recommendations of the independent Technical Advisory Board (TAB), Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) and other entities to restore the integrity of the certification process and make flight safer.

“With critical changes in place to ensure the 737 MAX’s safe return to service, it is my hope Boeing employees can get back to work, drive economic recovery and ensure U.S. aviation remains globally competitive. As Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, I will continue to work with Chair DeFazio, the Ranking Members and my colleagues to improve aviation safety.”