Boeing, FAA failures led to deadly 737 Max crashes, Congress finds



Congress blamed Boeing and the FAA for fatal 737 Max crashes.

Kent German/CNET

The Boeing 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people in 2018 and 2019 were the “horrific culmination” of failures at Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, a congressional inquiry has found. A report highlights failures in the plane’s design and an overly close relationship between the company and regulator.

Boeing engineers and test pilots expressed concerns about the MCAS flight control system blamed for the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia in 2018 and 2019, but the problems weren’t fixed, according to the House Transportation Committee. The plane was deemed compliant based on the FAA’s existing standards, but “demonstratively unsafe,” investigators noted.

“We have learned many hard lessons as a company from the accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, and from the mistakes we have made,” Boeing responded in a statement. “As this report recognizes, we have made fundamental changes to our company as a result, and continue to look for ways to improve.”

The FAA is looking forward to “working with the Committee to implement improvements identified in its report.”

“We are already undertaking important initiatives based on what we have learned from our own internal reviews as well as independent reviews of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents,” the administration said in an emailed statement. “The FAA continues to follow a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the aircraft to service.”

It highlighted proposed rule changes that’ll mandate a number of 737 Max design tweaks before it re-enters service.