US Aviation Authority Raps Boeing For Withholding Key Communication On Grounded Max Jet

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th October, 2019) The US aviation authority has taken aircraft maker Boeing to task for withholding for months internal communication about potential troubles with its 737 Max jets, which have been grounded after two crashes that killed nearly 350 people.

"Late yesterday, Boeing alerted the Department of Transportation to the existence of instant messages between two Boeing employees, characterizing certain communications with the FAA during the original certification of the 737 MAX in 2016," the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement on Friday. "Boeing explained to the Department that it had discovered this document some months ago."

The FAA, along with various other US agencies and nine international regulators, released a report last week that basically faulted Boeing for not adequately explaining to the US aviation authority how its inflight system, called MCAS, worked. The 737 Max had the operating system not carried by other jets in that series and was subsequently involved in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.

Boeing's board stripped the company's chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, of his chairman title after the October 11 report.

On Friday, the FAA said it found the substance of the communication in the document shared by Boeing with the transportation department "concerning".

CNBC on Friday reported the transcript of the exchange between the two Boeing staff, both former chief technical pilots for the 737, who discussed the MCAS malfunctioning.

The FAA said the transportation department immediately brought the document shared by Boeing to the attention of its inspector general as well as the FAA leadership.

The aviation authority said it has since shared the document with appropriate Congressional committees, and plans to provide additional related documents later on Friday.

"The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the Boeing 737 MAX to passenger service. The agency will lift the grounding order only after we have determined the aircraft is safe," the aviation authority said.

Regulators around the world grounded the Max after the second accident. Boeing is working on a software fix, and there is no timetable for when regulators will allow the aircraft to return to service.

Investigators found a damaged sensor sent the planes into irrecoverable nose-dives within minutes of takeoff. Incorrect data may have fed into the MCAS which caused the system to override pilots' attempts to pull up the nose of the jet, experts have said.