The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is presumed to testify on the safety certification of jetliners after two deadly crashes.
What We Know:
- Steve Dickson went before a Senate committee Wednesday morning. The Senate was able to ask Dickson about a legislation that was introduced Tuesday that grants the FAA more power over Boeing’s aircraft designs. This is following two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 involving the 737 MAX aircraft, killing 346 people in a five-month span.
- The plane was grounded in March 2019 and has since failed to win regulatory approval to resume commercial service. A new reform that was introduced Tuesday, Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020, grants the agency the authority to hire or remove Boeing employees’ conductions FAA certification tasks and also grant whistleblower protection to employees.
- A Republican Senator from Mississippi, Roger Wicker says the FAA hasn’t responded to more than half of his committee’s requests for documents, going back more than a year ago. He holds Dickson responsible for creating an ‘adversarial’ relationship with Congress. Wicker told Dickson at the press conference Wednesday, “It is hard not to conclude your team at the FAA has deliberately attempted to keep us in the dark”.
- Dickson and the FAA were accused of lying about the condition of the plane by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. He avoided answering any of the questions directly. Instead, Dickson said, “The manufacturer made mistakes, and the FAA made mistakes in its oversight of the manufacturer”.
The FAA lets 80 manufacturers use their own engineers to carefully examine the safety of their planes. Boeing hopes to win FAA approval so they can begin the changes they have planned for the plane. Victims’ relatives want the FAA review to go beyond flight-control software.