October 11, 2019

Chairs DeFazio, Larsen Statements on Newly-Released Review of the Certification of 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) issued the following statements after the Joint Authorities Technical Review, or JATR, released its report that assessed how both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing handled the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX flight control system. The Committee is conducting its own investigation into the certification of the aircraft and will hold its fourth hearing on the matter on October 30, 2019. Boeing’s CEO is scheduled to testify.

“The JATR report raises new and disturbing questions about the separation between regulator and manufacturer. In particular, it raises concerns regarding FAA’s oversight of the ODA program and the decisions that were made in regards to MCAS, which, as FAA’s Deputy Administrator testified before our Committee, is in fact a safety critical system. This report also validates one of my long-standing concerns about inadequate staffing levels within FAA’s ODA program, something I fought to address in the most recent FAA reauthorization bill,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “What’s more, much of what we’re seeing in the JATR report aligns with information coming to light in our Committee’s own investigation-- that undue pressure may have been placed on individuals at the FAA and Boeing to get the MAX into service as quickly as possible. It’s critical that we get answers about what went wrong and why, and more importantly, how we can ensure it never happens again. We owe that to the 346 people who died in the two MAX crashes and the flying public. The integrity of our aviation system depends on it.”

“FAA and Congress need to take these recommendations seriously,” said Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen (D-WA). “The JATR report raises important issues about the certification process, undue pressure on engineering unit members and how design changes to aircraft are communicated to FAA. These issues must be addressed to promote transparency, accountability, and most of all, safety.”

Chair DeFazio commends the JATR for conducting what appears to be a thorough review of a very specific and very important aspect of the certification process, and urge the FAA to implement the JATR’s recommendations expeditiously.  In addition, he looks forward to hearing directly from Boeing’s CEO at the Committee’s hearing on October 30.

More information about the Committee’s investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX, including statements, official requests, and hearing video, can be found here.