The US House of Representatives has begun an inquiry into the Boeing 737 Max plane, which has been grounded since March after two crashes – involving an Indonesian and an Ethiopian airline – killed 346 people.
There was quite a revelation on the first day of the hearing: the FAA, the US aviation safety regulator, conducted its own analysis after the first crash and concluded that it was more likely to crash than previous models of the 737 – and yet the plane continued to fly.
Aviation expert John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting, told the Today programme that it was “the most astounding accident situation I can think of in my career”.
He said that because of a lack of resources at the FAA, Boeing had in effect been “marking their own homework” when it came to assessing the 737 Max’s airworthiness.
Mr Strickland said the process of clearing the plane for a return to the skies would be “extremely long”, but that it was “crucial” that Boeing got it right.
“If this plane was not available, you would see a massive, massive dent in future capacity, and that would only increase as time went on,” he said
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