US Senators introduce aviation safety bill to reform certification after 737 MAX crashes

FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 Max aircraft are parked in a parking lot at Boeing Field in this aerial photo over Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 11, 2020.

CHICAGO: US lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday (Jun 16) that would reform aircraft certification following two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes, Senators Roger Wicker and Maria Cantwell said in a joint statement accompanying the proposal.

The measure seeks to eliminate the ability of aircraft makers like Boeing to unduly influence the certification process and marks the most significant step toward reforms following the 2018 and 2019 crashes, which sparked calls to change how the FAA approves new airplanes.

Top Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the U.S. Senate commerce committee said the proposal draws on crash reports, recommendations from aviation experts, reports from victims’ families, and a series of hearings.

“Safety is paramount,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, where Boeing manufactures most of its aircraft. “A primary goal of this legislation is to make sure the FAA remains in the driver’s seat when it comes to certification.”

The proposal includes only technical changes from a draft circulated last week and first reported by Reuters.

Boeing’s top-selling 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 and the manufacturer faces an ongoing criminal probe and investigation by the Transportation Department’s inspector general.

The largest U.S. planemaker hopes to conduct a key certification test flight late this month as it works to resume flights.

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