By Clayton Guse
Sen. Chuck Schumer continued his push to crack down on conflicts of interest at the Federal Aviation Administration Sunday.
The Senate minority leader sent a letter to acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell demanding that more strict action be taken against Boeing after dozens of the company’s jets were grounded across the country.
Representatives from Boeing currently hold seats on the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations regarding regulations for the country’s airline industry.
“It makes no sense for Boeing — or any company for that matter — to be involved in an active investigation surrounding questions of safety while also retaining membership on a federal committee that recommends industry regulations,” said Schumer. “I am demanding the FAA both suspend Boeing from Schumer has been advocating for more tighter regulations over the airline industry since a Boeing 737 Max jet operating for Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff on March 10, killing all 157 people on board. this committee and any others until the formal investigation has ended.”
The tragedy came less than five months after another 737 Max plane operating for Lion Air crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people.
The problematic plane model has since been grounded worldwide.
In his letter to Elwell, Schumer also notes the FAA has failed to show enough transparency when it comes to what is discussed at the advisory committee meetings, and questions whether Boeing is lobbying against regulations for the airline industry.
“Minutes of each and every meeting are unavailable to the public,” Schumer’s letter reads. “As is the criteria for membership and a transparent chronicling of how members like Boeing are chosen.”
The FAA issued a directive in November to change flight manuals to provide crews with instructions to follow when crews on Boeing 737 Max jets malfunction like the one involved in the Lion Air crash.
Two months earlier, Boeing representatives were present at an Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee meeting, flagging concerns about the cost impacts of some manufacturing regulations for their airplanes.