US regulators to examine Boeing 737 MAX production after series of incidents
Boeing will face further examination as the US Congress reportedly plans to audit Boeing production, including its 737 MAX aircraft.
The news follows the results of an investigation made by the Investigative Division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which disclosed at least 60 in-flight safety problems, including six emergencies, in the year after the plane was re-certified.
On June 27, 2022, Australian broadcaster ABC revealed findings of its aircraft safety reports investigation based on the Service Difficulty Reporting System data of the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as on other safety-related reports which were submitted by anonymous users to the NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System.
According to the investigation, Boeing 737 MAX aircraft were involved in at least 22 cases of flight control system failures, including autopilot malfunction, and at least 42 cases of malfunctions of other plane systems, including engine shutdowns, which lead to the partial loss of aircraft control for the flight crew.
The investigation caught the attention of the US Congress, which has requested a new audit to examine the production oversight of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
In an emailed statement to ABC, the US air safety investigator the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the Inspector-General's office of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) would lead the inspection.
"The DOT Inspector-General's office has confirmed that Congress requested an audit of Boeing's production oversight and that the review of the production of the 737 MAX will be a part of this audit," the NTSB wrote in the emailed statement.
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded across the globe in March 2019 after a second fatal crash in Ethiopia due to alleged similarities between Lion Air flight JT610, the first fatal accident to involve the aircraft type, which occurred in October 2018. In total, the two crashes claimed the lives of 346 people, including crew and passengers.
Following the grounding, Boeing’s chief executive was ousted from the company in late December 2019, and the manufacturer suspended production of the jet.
However, in late 2020, after months of investigations and audits, the FAA became the first aviation authority to re-certify the MAX allowing it to enter commercial service again.
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