The Senate Commerce Committee is investigating whistle-blower claims that Federal Aviation Administration security inspectors who evaluated Boeing’s 737 Max airplane weren’t appropriately educated or licensed.
On Tuesday, the committee chairman, Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, despatched a letter to the F.A.A. demanding details about whether or not the company had investigated these allegations or taken any motion to treatment the issue.
After the deadly crashes of two 737 Max jets in lower than 5 months, there may be new scrutiny on the regulator’s shut relationship with Boeing. The F.A.A. depends on Boeing staff to assist certify the airworthiness of its plane, a system that critics say creates conflicts of curiosity.
In hearings final week, lawmakers pressed Elaine L. Chao, the transportation secretary, and Daniel Ok. Elwell, the performing administrator of the F.A.A., about federal oversight of aviation security. Federal prosecutors are investigating the event of the Max airplane, which included new software program which will have contributed to the deadly accidents.
“The committee is worried that such potential lack of certification and coaching” might have influenced inspectors’ analysis of the software program, Mr. Wicker stated. The inspectors could have been a part of a workforce that decided the extent of coaching the pilots wanted to fly the Max, based on the letter. Boeing has come underneath hearth from pilots, who say they weren’t knowledgeable that the brand new software program existed till after the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October. The 737 Max planes have been grounded around the globe after an Ethiopian Airways crash final month.
The committee believes that the F.A.A. could have been knowledgeable of the whistle-blower allegations in August and just lately accomplished an investigation of the claims. Mr. Wicker gave the F.A.A. two weeks to reply to the request for info.