More than one hundred pages of internal Boeing communications related to the design and certification of the grounded 737 MAX and including discussions about deceiving regulators, avoiding simulator training requirements and the aircraft’s poor design were released to the public on Thursday. According to Boeing, the communications were turned over to the FAA in December but the company made the decision to publicize the documents following “encouragement” from Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology. The release of the communications prompted the FAA to issue a statement on Friday clarifying that although it found the tone and content of the messages “disappointing,” agency experts had reviewed the documents and uncovered no safety risks not previously identified during the FAA’s ongoing review of proposed modifications to the MAX.
“These communications do not reflect the company we are and need to be, and they are completely unacceptable,” Boeing said. “We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the FAA, Congress, our airline customers, and to the flying public for them. We have made significant changes as a company to enhance our safety processes, organizations, and culture.” Boeing also stated that it would be “taking appropriate action” in response to the content of the messages including “disciplinary or other personnel action, once the necessary reviews are completed.”
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded last March after 346 people were killed in the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. The FAA reiterated on Friday that it would not set a time frame for returning the aircraft to service, but would focus on following a thorough process. As previously reported by AVweb, Boeing issued a statement earlier this week recommending simulator training for MAX crews.
The documents released by Boeing can be viewed here: https://archive.org/details/boeingemailsocr