Documents show Boeing concealed 737 Max problems from FAA: report
Documents sent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Thursday by aircraft manufacturer Boeing included conversations between the company’s employees who talked about getting the agency to approve the now-beleaguered 737 Max airplanes while concealing problems with the product, The New York Times reports.
Many of the messages handed over to the agency included conversations detailing the software and flight simulator problems for the aircrafts that were withheld from the FAA, the newspaper reported.
“I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year,” one of the employees said in documented messages from 2018, referencing their interactions with an FAA regulator.
Another employee asked a colleague if they would let their family fly on a Max simulator trained aircraft. The colleague responded, “No.”
In a statement to Congress, Boeing said that the messages “contain provocative language, and, in certain instances, raise questions about Boeing’s interactions with the F.A.A. in connection with the simulator qualification process,” but adds that it is “confident that all of Boeing’s Max simulators are functioning effectively.”
The company also said that it notified the FAA of the documents in December, the Times notes.
FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford reportedly said in a statement that the messages did not show that there were any additional safety risks with Boeing’s 737 Max or flight simulators, adding “any potential safety deficiencies identified in the documents have been addressed.”
2019 was a tough year for Boeing and the 737 Max model. After deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed a combined 346 people, the company grounded the planes in March of last year.
Despite the grounding and the ensuing investigation by the FAA over the 737 Max’s safety, Boeing continued to produce the plane, hoping that the fleet would be cleared for flight in early 2020. However, in mid-December Boeing stopped production of the 737 Max. A week later, CEO Dennis Muilenburg resigned from his post.
This week, Boeing settled with American Airlines for an undisclosed amount over the losses that the airline suffered from not being able to fly its fleet of 737 Max planes. Southwest Airlines reached a similar confidential settlement with the company in December.