The FAA has asked Boeing to explain instant messages between two Boeing employees regarding concerns with the original certification of the 737 MAX that the company turned over to the Department of Transportation on Thursday. According to the FAA, Boeing discovered the communication several months ago. The messages were sent in 2016.
“The FAA finds the substance of the document concerning,” the agency said in a statement. “The FAA is also disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery. The FAA is reviewing this information to determine what action is appropriate.”
It has been reported that the messages referred to a problem with an automated system on the MAX that made it difficult to control. FAA Administrator Steve Dickson sent a letter (PDF) to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg asking for an immediate explanation for the contents of the document and Boeing’s delay in bringing it to the FAA. Boeing issued a statement on Friday saying it originally provided the document to “the appropriate investigating authority” earlier this year. The FAA says it has shared the document with relevant congressional committees. The 737 MAX has been grounded since March following the fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.