U.S. House of Representatives committee approves FAA reform bill after fatal 737 MAX crashes

Bipartisan legislation has been unanimously approved by a U.S. House of Representatives committee to reform the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aircraft certification procedures after the fatal crashes of a Lion Air 737 MAX and Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX jet, killing all passengers and crew on board in both instances.

The beleaguered jet has been grounded since March 2019, the month of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. The House of Representatives will vote on the reform measures later on this year. Representative Peter DeFazio, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said at a hearing: “Those crashes were the inevitable culmination of stunning acts and omissions within Boeing and the (FAA),” adding that the FAA had failed to ensure the safety of the 737 MAX and described the aircraft certification process as: “a broken system that broke the public’s trust.”

According to Reuters news agency, the bill would require American aircraft manufacturers to adopt safety management systems and complete system safety assessments for significant design changes, ensure that risk calculations are based on realistic assumptions of pilot response time, and share risk assessments with the FAA.

The House Transportation Committee Democrats reported that the two 737 MAX crashes were the “horrific culmination” of failures by Boeing and the FAA. The new bill will also provide added protection for whistleblower protection in the U.S. for manufacturing employees and will require FAA approval of new workers who are performing delegated certification tasks for the agency, and impose civil penalties on those who interfere with the performance of FAA-authorized duties.

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