A US congressional report found that Boeing hid design flaws in its 737 Max jet from both pilots and regulators so that it could get the aeroplane certified as soon as possible.
The 737 Max was grounded last year following two of these aircraft crashing within months of each other, which resulted in the deaths of 346 people.
Investigators found that both crashes were caused by a faulty sensor which activated the plane’s anti-stall system by mistake. This dipped the planes’ noses downwards.
The 238-page report claims that Boeing tried to cut corners both in testing and training because it was in a rush to launch the plane.
This was because the 737 Max was going to serve as Boeing’s answer to the Airbus A320neo.
“[The two crashes] were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the [Federal Aviation Administration],” said the report.
The report, conducted by the US House of Representatives, found that Boeing convinced the FAA not to class the faulty anti-stall system as “safety-critical” – which mean pilots did not know about the system at all.
“Boeing failed in its design and development of the MAX, and the FAA failed in its oversight of Boeing and its certification of the aircraft,” said the report.
Boeing 737 Max back in production
Boeing resumed production of its 737 Max aeroplane in May 2020, albeit at a slower rate than before, and said it is implementing over a dozen initiatives to improve product quality.
“We’ve been on a continuous journey to evolve our production system and make it even stronger,” said vice president and general manager of the Boeing 737 programme Walt Odisho.
“These initiatives are the next step in creating the optimal build environment for the 737 Max.”
Production of these planes was suspended in January, and Boeing said its mechanics and engineers have been working to standardise work packages in each position of the factory.
New kitting processes will also ensure that employees are fully equipped to build the aeroplane.