US SENATORS CRAFT BILL TO REFORM AIRCRAFT CERTIFICATION PROCESS
Two US senators are circulating a bipartisan draft bill that would reform how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies new aircraft in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people, David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski wrote for Reuters on Saturday, June 13, 2020.
The measure seeks to eliminate the ability of aircraft makers like Boeing Co. 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.
The draft, which was completed this week and reviewed by Reuters, is authored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, a Republican, and the top Democrat on the panel, Senator Maria Cantwell. The FAA, Wicker’s office and Boeing declined to comment on the draft bill.
It aims to grant the FAA new power over the long-standing practice of delegating some certification tasks to aircraft manufacturer employees. It would give the agency authority to hire or remove Boeing employees conducting FAA certification tasks and allow the FAA to appoint safety advisers. One congressional aide said the bill would put the FAA “back in the driver’s seat” overseeing airplane certification.