Boeing has released a new batch of “disturbing” documents to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Congress amid the ongoing investigation into a pair of fatal crashes involving the 737 MAX that killed a combined 346 people.
The beleaguered airline manufacturer contacted the FAA and the House Transportation Committee at the direction of its lawyers late Monday, the same day that the company’s board fired CEO Dennis Muilenburg, replacing him with Boeing Chairman David Calhoun.
“Staff are continuing to review these records, but similar to other records previously disclosed by Boeing, the records appear to point to a very disturbing picture of both concerns expressed by Boeing employees about the company’s commitment to safety and efforts by some employees to ensure Boeing’s production plans were not diverted by regulators or others,” committee spokeswoman Kerry Arndt said in an email to The Seattle Times.
The new documents compound previously released information suggesting that Boeing may have cut corners in the plane’s development, with one senior engineer alleging the company prioritized cost over safety.
Boeing didn’t downplay the disturbing nature of the latest documents but claims that “significant changes” have been made since the 737 MAX was grounded in March.
“Boeing proactively brought these communications to the FAA and Congress as part of our commitment to transparency with our regulators and the oversight committees,” Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in an email to the Times. “As with prior documents referenced by the committee, the tone and content of some of these communications does not reflect the company we are and need to be.”
“We have made significant changes as a company in the past nine months to enhance our safety processes, organizations and culture.”
Boeing has since updated its software to give pilots more control over the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which was implicated in both accidents. However, the company is still awaiting approval and has since temporarily suspended production of the troubled jet.
Earlier this month, FAA chairman Steve Dickson said the recertification process for the 737 MAX aircraft would extend into 2020 and United Airlines canceled 737 MAX flights until early June last week, acknowledging that “the MAX return to service date still unknown.”
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