Boeing Separates CEO, Chairman Role Amid 737 MAX Crisis

More than 340 people were killed in two crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had insufficient personnel to oversee the certification of new Boeing airplanes and should make significant reforms in how it approves new airplanes, an global aviation panel said Friday. The panel took issue with the "high percentage of approvals and findings of compliance" that were delegated to Boeing for the 737 Max program, recommending areas that needed to be improved by FAA and Boeing to ensure the process has integrity.

Boeing pledged to work with the FAA on the recommendations.

The system in question is known as the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system - or MCAS.

The Boeing 737 Max was grounded following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people late past year. "However while some modern safety tools were incorporated into the MAX's design, some were left out after Boeing deemed them 'impractical". It simply doesn't have the expertise or resources to do it all itself, and it's a policy which U.S. politicians have supported.

A report expected to be made public today finds fault with Boeing and the FAA over their handling of the 737 MAX certification, according to the New York Times.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a prepared statement that the agency would review all recommendations from the panel and take appropriate action.

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But the problem remains: if certification depends on Boeing marking its own homework, how can the FAA be sure it's doing the job properly?

The task force only looked at the FAA's certification of the Max's flight control system, but that allowed it to review the certification of the new automated system involved in the crashes.

It also found that Boeing staff performing the certification were also subject to "undue pressures. which further erodes the level of assurance in this system of delegation".

One of the report's main themes is said to highlight the FAA's over fixation on the specifics of the new system, rather than investigating and understanding its overall impact on the plane. It includes air safety regulators from the United States, Canada, China, Indonesia, European Union, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Japan, and the five-month review included FAA officials who were not part of the 737 MAX certification.

The FAA pledged it would act on the report's recommendations.

"We welcome this scrutiny and are confident that our openness to these efforts will further bolster aviation safety worldwide", Dickson said.

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