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T&I Republican Leaders Request Hearing with Former FAA Officials Who Oversaw the Boeing 737 MAX Certification

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Subcommittee on Aviation Ranking Member Garret Graves (R-LA) have formally requested a Full Committee hearing to receive testimony from senior Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials who were in charge of the agency between 2012 and 2017 when nearly all decisions regarding the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX were made.

They wrote to Chairman DeFazio and Chairman Larsen this week to request the hearing, after Ranking Member Sam Graves first requested the hearing in his opening remarks during an October 30th hearing.

As the Committee majority’s investigation of the 737 MAX certification continues, hearing directly from officials who led the FAA and the FAA’s Aviation Safety and Aircraft Certification Service Offices when the 737 MAX was being certified would give the Committee a much more complete understanding of the FAA’s activities and decisions from that time.  Committee hearings thus far have received testimony from current FAA officials, Boeing, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and other aviation stakeholders. 

The text of the letter:

Dear Chairman DeFazio and Chairman Larsen: We write regarding your ongoing investigation into the design and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX and your planned hearings surrounding that investigation.  As requested at the October 30, 2019, Committee hearing titled, “The Boeing 737 MAX: Examining the Design, Development and Marketing of the Aircraft,” we believe in order for the Committee to have a complete understanding of the certification activities and decisions between 2012 and 2017, we must hear from all those involved in leadership positions at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during that time frame. 

While Mr. Muilenburg’s recent testimony helps Committee Members to understand decisions made by Boeing between 2009 and 2019 regarding the design and certification of the 737 MAX, Boeing  was not the only party to the safety certification process.  While the Boeing Organization Designation Authorization office was authorized to act for the FAA in certain matters, the FAA retained ultimate responsibility for overseeing compliance with safety regulations.  The Committee has already heard from current FAA leadership regarding the agency’s actions before, during and after the foreign accidents involving the 737 MAX but we believe the Committee must also hear from those in charge of the FAA when the decisions regarding the certification of the plane were made. 

Therefore, at the October 30, 2019, hearing, we asked for your commitment that the Committee hold a hearing in the near future to receive testimony from those senior FAA officials in charge between 2012 and 2017, which is when decisions related to the 737 MAX certification were made and approvals granted.  We appreciate the verbal commitment Chairman DeFazio made during the hearing to call such former officials to testify before the Committee. As a follow up, we wish to reiterate our request and ask that we find a mutually agreeable date on which the full Committee will hold a hearing to receive testimony from senior FAA officials in charge between 2012 and 2017.

We appreciate your attention to this request and look forward to working with you on this important hearing. 

Sam Graves
Ranking Member
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Garret Graves
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Aviation

Click here for a pdf of the letter. 

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