US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced on Tuesday that her department is requesting an audit on how the Boeing 737 Max was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to enter service.
“This is to confirm my request that the Office of Inspector General proceed with an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft,” Secretary Chao said in a memo to Calvin L. Scovel III, the Inspector General of the US Department of Transportation.
The request comes after two effectively brand new Boeing 737 Max jets have crashed since October including Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 on March 10, killing all 157 people on board. Last Wednesday, the FAA issued an emergency order grounding the entire Boeing 737 Max fleet in the US. Airlines and regulatory agencies from more than 50 countries around the world have also grounded or outright banned the plane from its airspace.
Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed shortly after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia on October 28, 2018. All 189 passengers and crew on board the plane were killed.
Here’s Secretary Chao’s memo in its entirety:
“Safety is the top priority of the Department, and all of us are saddened by the fatalities resulting from the recent accidents involving two Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia. As you know, Boeing requested an amended type certification for this aircraft in January 2012, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued the certification in March 2017.
“To help inform the Department’s decision making and the public’s understanding, and to assist the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively, this is to confirm my request that the Office of Inspector General proceed with an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.
“Please keep me apprised of the status of your work as it progresses.”
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