[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it will allow Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to resume flying:
“Allowing these planes to fly again is a premature leap of faith. The FAA’s directive to unground 737 MAX aircraft fails to address the larger systemic issues at Boeing and the FAA that led to the deaths of 346 people. We have major outstanding concerns about the transparency of the FAA’s risky decision to move forward with the ungrounding. The lax oversight that in effect let Boeing self-certify the safety of the aircraft remains in place. Some small changes have been made by the agency, but they are not sufficient.”
“While imperfect, the Commerce Committee’s passage of the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act this morning is a good beginning of the much needed overhaul of a clearly failed certification system. We will continue to fight for swift and comprehensive legislative reforms to protect the traveling public.”

In September, Blumenthal and Markey asked FAA to make public all data and information used to justify the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service, along with any internal objections raised by FAA employees, before the aircraft is allowed back in the air. The senators also lambasted the agency for its ongoing failure to release to Congress requested documents about the 737 MAX’s safety procedures, certification, and oversight standards. The full text of that letter is available here.

Earlier this year, Blumenthal, Markey and U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced comprehensive legislation revamping oversight of the aviation industry to prioritize consumer safety. The Restoring Aviation Accountability Act would reform the federal government’s role in certifying safety in the aviation industry following two Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes – Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 – that killed 346 people within five months. Several key provisions from this legislation were included in the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today.