Boeing 737 Max report criticises U.S. approval process

Boeing Finds Itself in a Fresh Pickle

Morocco's national carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has suspended a deal to purchase two more Boeing BA.N 737 MAX jets after the same model of aircraft crashed in Ethiopia, a source from the airline told Reuters on Thursday.

The fast-selling 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since mid-March while Boeing Co updates flight control software at the centre of two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

It concludes that the FAA wasn't sufficiently aware of what MCAS was and so was unable to exercise proper oversight; and that "undue pressures" were placed on Boeing staff carrying out tasks on behalf of the regulator.

In both incidents, investigators focused on the role played by a software system called MCAS (Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System), which was created to make the aircraft easier to fly.

But the FAA came in for harsh criticism from the JATR, which said there was "an inadequate number of FAA specialists" in place to oversee a new design of the 737 MAX and they "had inadequate awareness" of the system implicated in the crashes.

"We have cooperated fully with the FAA's independent review of the Max aircraft, and we won't put our customers and employees on that plane until regulators make their own independent assessment that it is safe to do so", the company said in a statement.

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

Boeing did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The report, which is slated to officially be released on Friday, found that the MCAS was not evaluated as a "complete and integrated function" and that the certification process also suffered from the "lack of a unified top-down development and evaluation of the system function and its safety analyses, combined with the extensive and fragmented documentation".

An investigation conducted by the New York Times found that such tweaks made MCAS more influential and more temperamental, with key FAA officials unaware of the changes.

The panel said, "FAA involvement in the certification of MCAS would likely have resulted in design changes that would have improved safety". According to the report, the newest addition to the 737 lineage was allowed to undergo a less thorough examination than other new planes, because of its familiarity with the 737 design.

While the FAA's approval process scrutinised individual changes, it did not adequately consider how the changes might interact with existing systems or with pilots and crew, the report added.

Investigators recommended the FAA confirm the MAX's compliance with regulations regarding the plane's flight guidance system, flight manual and stall demonstration.

American and Southwest already pushed the plane's earliest return into January.

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