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Report on 737 Max: 'Horrific Culmination' of Missteps

'Grossly insufficient oversight' by FAA and 'lack of transparency' by Boeing cited by House committee
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2020 7:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – As regulators get closer to OKing recertification for Boeing's beleaguered 737 Max planes, what CNBC calls a "damning" report from a Congressional committee that took a year and a half to complete was released Wednesday, pointing to a series of fails during the development of the aircraft. The nearly 250-page document from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure lays out design, regulatory, and management missteps and "disturbing cultural issues," including placing "undue pressure" on employees. The two fatal 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people in 2018 and 2019, and which prompted the grounding of the plane in March of last year, "were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing's engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing's management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA," the report reads.

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The Democrat-led committee's report, which the New York Times says came from 600,000 pages of records and interviews with dozens of Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration workers, accuses the FAA of not stepping in enough to provide oversight, and Boeing of prioritizing profits over safety—specifically so that it could stay on top of rival Airbus, which had a competing aircraft. In a statement cited by CNN, Boeing responded to the report by saying it has "learned many hard lessons as a company" and that once regulators give the plane the OK to fly again, "we have full confidence in its safety." Others aren't so sure. "I think the project as a whole should be scrapped," a woman whose husband was killed on the Ethiopian Airlines flight, tells CNBC. "This was a rushed project and ... now they're rushing to recertify. You can't place a dollar value on the lives of any passenger." (Read more Boeing stories.)

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