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US lawmakers make push for airplane certification reforms

作者:admin 2020-12-21

US lawmakers are making a final push in 2020 to win approval of landmark reforms to how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifies new airplanes in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes, five people briefed on the matter said on Saturday.

US lawmakers make push for airplane certification reforms

A Boeing 737 MAX jet lands following Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington on June 29. Photo: VCG

On November 18, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously passed a bill to reform how the FAA certifies new airplanes, grant new protections for whistleblowers and bolster misconduct investigations and discipline management at the FAA, among other reforms. The US House of Representatives unanimously passed a similar bill the same week.

Lawmakers hope to attach significant reforms to a massive bill expected to be voted on in the coming days that would provide about $900 billion in COVID-19 relief and fund the government's operations. One congressional aide said "House and Senate committee negotiators on that issue have gotten to a good place on it."

On Friday, Senate Commerce Republicans released a 102-page report that found Boeing officials "inappropriately coached" test pilots during recertification efforts after the 737 MAX crashes killed 346 people.

The committee said it appeared FAA and Boeing officials "were attempting to cover up important information that may have contributed to the 737 MAX tragedies."

The FAA said Friday it was "carefully reviewing the document, which the committee acknowledges contains a number of unsubstantiated allegations" and added it was confident safety issues in the two fatal Boeing crashes "have been addressed through the design changes required and independently approved by the FAA and its partners."

The COVID-19 bill is expected to provide $45 billion in transportation assistance to the industry.

Three congressional aides said Saturday funding is likely to include $15 billion for a four-month extension of passenger airlines payroll assistance, $14 billion for public transit agencies, $10-$12 billion for state transportation departments, $1 billion for passenger railroad Amtrak, $2 billion for private motorcoach companies and other transportation providers and $1 billion for airport contractors.
Newspaper headline: Lawmakers make push for airplane certification reforms: sources

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