Corrected: U.S. House panel wants Boeing CEO to allow employee interviews on 737 MAX crashes

(In SEPT 12 story, corrects name of European Union Aviation Safety Agency from European Aviation and Space Agency in paragraph 10) By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress on Thursday asked Boeing Co's chief executive to make several employees available for interviews as part of a congressional probe into the design, development and certification of 737 MAX aircraft involved in two crashes that killed 346 people. House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and Representative Rick Larsen, who chairs the aviation subcommittee, said in a statement that while Boeing has provided substantial documents and shared senior management’s perspective, 'it’s important to the committee’s investigation to hear from relevant Boeing employees.' The committee plans another Boeing hearing in the coming weeks and previously asked whistleblowers to come forward with any information about the plane's development. Boeing has provided more than 300,000 pages of documents, a person briefed on the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Reuters September 15, 2019 00:08:29 IST
Corrected: U.S. House panel wants Boeing CEO to allow employee interviews on 737 MAX crashes

Corrected US House panel wants Boeing CEO to allow employee interviews on 737 MAX crashes

(In SEPT 12 story, corrects name of European Union Aviation Safety Agency from European Aviation and Space Agency in paragraph 10)

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress on Thursday asked Boeing Co's chief executive to make several employees available for interviews as part of a congressional probe into the design, development and certification of 737 MAX aircraft involved in two crashes that killed 346 people.

House of Representatives Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and Representative Rick Larsen, who chairs the aviation subcommittee, said in a statement that while Boeing has provided substantial documents and shared senior management’s perspective, "it’s important to the committee’s investigation to hear from relevant Boeing employees."

The committee plans another Boeing hearing in the coming weeks and previously asked whistleblowers to come forward with any information about the plane's development. Boeing has provided more than 300,000 pages of documents, a person briefed on the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Boeing said in a statement it was "deeply disappointed the committee chose to release private correspondence given our extensive cooperation to date. We will continue to be transparent and responsive to the committee."

The 737 MAX, Boeing’s best-selling jet, was grounded globally in March, days after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that followed a similar Lion Air disaster in Indonesia in October. A total of 346 people died in the two crashes.

Federal prosecutors aided by the FBI, the Department of Transportation’s inspector general and several blue-ribbon panels are investigating the 737 MAX as well as how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies new aircraft.

Major U.S. airlines have canceled flights into December as a result of the MAX grounding, including American Airlines Group Inc and United Airlines, while Southwest Airlines Co has canceled flights into early January.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg said at an investor conference on Wednesday that the company is still targeting "early fourth quarter for getting the airplane back up in the air" but added that "ultimately return-to-service timing will be determined by the regulator."

The FAA has repeatedly said it will not certify the plane to fly again until it is safe to do so.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said on Tuesday it "intends to conduct its own test flights separate from, but in full coordination with, the FAA. The test flights are not scheduled yet, the date will depend on the development schedule of Boeing."

Muilenburg said it is possible not all regulators around the world will concurrently approve the MAX to fly again. Boeing has said it plans to conduct a certification test flight in the “September time frame" but Muilenburg did not give a specific date when asked on Wednesday.

Some officials do not expect the 737 MAX to actually resume flights until early 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 1 that a Boeing briefing in August was cut short by U.S., European and other regulators who complained the company failed to answer specific questions about modifications in the operation of MAX flight-control computers.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed frustration with the lack of some answers from Boeing.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.