Boeing, FAA Whistle-Blower Safety Risks Detailed by Senate
(Bloomberg) -- Whistle-blowers at Boeing Co. and others involved with the aviation industry are raising renewed concerns about safety in the wake of the 737 Max crash investigations, according to a report issued Monday.
Senator Maria Cantwell, the Washington Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, called on U.S. aviation regulators to act on the latest concerns and said she would hold hearings on the allegations.
“Together, these allegations illustrate the importance of a course correction that puts safety first and listens to the voices of line engineers,” Cantwell wrote in a letter Monday to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
The report comes at a delicate time for Boeing and aircraft engine suppliers like General Electric Co., which are looking to ramp up production as the pandemic wanes. Boeing is especially sensitive to criticism after two fatal crashes of its 737 Max jetliner prompted a 20-month global grounding and increased scrutiny by Congress and regulators worldwide.
The people who came forward include a senior Boeing engineer as well as current and former employees at GE and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, according to the report.
While the documents detail allegations from whistle-blowers who came forward previously, at least a handful of the allegations are from people whose concerns weren’t previously known.
Boeing said in a statement it was still reviewing the report, but that it had made “significant” changes in recent years to improve safety, reduce pressure on employees and to work more closely with FAA. “We remain focused on those improvements, and we will review the report’s findings and recommendations as we continue that process,” the company said.
GE investigated the claims made by its former employee “with full transparency” to the FAA and found no undue influence, a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
The FAA said in a statement it “takes all whistle-blower allegations seriously and does not tolerate retaliation against those who raise safety concerns.”
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