The final Report of the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on the Boeing 737 Max was released on 16 September 2020. Boeing was once a company whose philosophy was grounded in solving complex engineering problems. This report reveals the subsequent shift in emphasis to enhancing and expanding financial profits, but at what cost?
In its final report on the Boeing 737 MAX published last week, the US House Committee gives a disturbing insight into “technical design flaws, faulty assumptions about pilot responses, and management failures by both The Boeing Company and the Federal Aviation Administration”, which led to the total loss of 346 lives in October 2018 and March 2019.
Not only did Boeing choose not to share with the Federal Aviation Administration, its MAX customers or MAX pilots vital information that may have prevented these crashes, it also sought to transfer all accountability to the pilots. In an interview with Committee staff in May 2020, Michael Teal, the Chief Project Engineer for the 737 MAX program, said: “I’ve always known that a stab trim runaway would have catastrophic effects if the pilots did not intervene.”
It was crystal clear to the Committee that Boeing was attempting to shift all responsibility, and the Committee is scathing of this in its conclusion, saying: “Boeing gambled on the fact that the pilots would be the fail-safe mechanism to prevent an aviation tragedy which contributed to fatal consequences in both MAX crashes.”
Sarah Stewart, a partner in our specialist Aviation team, says:
“The story of the Boeing 737 MAX is a tragic testament to what can happen when competitiveness and profits are placed ahead of safety and human lives.”
This article was written by Paralegal Dani Tselentakis
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