U.S. House Lawmakers Seek Boeing, FAA Records After Production Problems
- The two Democrats are seeking records from Boeing and the FAA about ‘continued’ production problems involving the 737 Max and the 787 Dreamliner.
- The request comes less than a year after a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure report faulted Boeing and the FAA over the development of the 737 Max, two of which crashed between October 2018 and March 2019, killing 346 people.
- Production issues have since arisen in other aircraft, pausing deliveries.
A Boeing logo sits on the fuselage of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, produced by Boeing Co., as it stands on display prior to the opening of the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, U.K., on Sunday, July 13, 2014.Simon Dawson / Bloomberg
Two key House Democrats are seeking records from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration after production issues were found with the company’s 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the Transportation Committee and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation, requested a list and descriptions of FAA inspections at the 737 production plant in Renton, Washington, since 2017, and its Dreamliner factory in South Carolina since 2015, according to a letter they sent Tuesday to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, which was reviewed by CNBC.
They also asked for supervision records, the results of audits and numbers of Boeing employees designated to perform oversight tasks at each site, among other information, said the letter.
“Although it is essential that Boeing continue to voluntarily report issues such as these to the FAA, we are troubled that, even after the longest grounding of a civilian airliner in history, the persistence of quality-control lapses and manufacturing errors—across two different aircraft programs—remain,” the lawmakers wrote. “This naturally raises questions about the sufficiency of the FAA’s oversight of Boeing’s commercial airplane programs as well as that of Boeing’s internal quality controls and safety culture.”
The request comes less than a year after a report by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure slammed Boeing over the design and development of the 737 Max, and the FAA for oversight lapses. Two of those planes crashed between October 2018 and March 2019, killing all 346 people on the flights.
Boeing last year said it found improper spacing in some areas of the 787 fuselage. After inspections and a five-month pause, it resumed deliveries of the wide-body aircraft in March. Separately, an electrical issue on Boeing’s bestselling 737 Max grounded more than 100 of the planes in April, though the FAA last week approved a fix.
The lawmakers asked for responses by June 8 but said it “will consider a rolling production of these records if you are unable to fully complete your response by this date.”
A Boeing spokesman said the company is reviewing the request. The FAA is also reviewing the request and “will make every effort to respond to [the lawmakers] as quickly and completely as possible,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
The agency last month said it was auditing Boeing’s process for making minor design changes as well as the origins of the electrical issue on the 737 Max. That issue is not related to the system implicated in the two fatal crashes.