The big Barnum & Boeing circus ( the saddest show on earth) came to give his show in Washington yesterday. This time, it is the FAA that went under the spotlight with a disastrous result for her.
What the FAA knew
The latest revelation is outrageous: after the crash of Lion Air 610, the FAA made a risk assessment of the MCAS. She determined that if nothing were changed, the MCAS would cause 15 more tragedies in the next 30 years. Either an accident every two or three years on average. The FAA knew that another accident was predictable but did nothing to prevent it. Even after the crash of Ethiopian Flight 302, the US regulator did not want to ban the MAX flight.
157 victims for nothing
One can imagine the angry reaction of the relatives of the 157 victims of flight ETH302. This tragedy could have been avoided and 157 life could have been saved. Over the last 60 years, civil aviation has investigated all air tragedies. Whenever a flaw was identified, the fixes were made immediately. Commercial considerations have always been subordinated to aviation safety.
In its watchdog role, the FAA failed during the MAX certification and after the crash of Lion Air 610. We are witnessing one of the darkest episodes in the history of civil aviation. The tragedy of the ETH302 flight was preventable and the people in authority knew it but did not act.
FAA last chance
It is obvious that the people in charge at the FAA after the first crash will have to answer for their inaction. At this point, taking no action would probably be the worst message for the American public whose trust is greatly eroded. The revelations of the past eight months have given us the portrait of an FAA who is Boeing’s muppet. FAA President Steve Dickson was not there during the two tragedies that killed 346 people. He can therefore get down to the task of cleaning up since he has done nothing wrong.
To regain the respect of other regulatory agencies and the American public, the FAA has only one option; being more directive with Boeing and fully assume its regulatory responsibilities. This means applying the JTAR recommendations and raking wider than the MCAS before recertifying the MAX.
The MAX’s next tragedy
More and more stakeholders are starting to talk about the MAX production shutdown or at least a significant slowdown. In the United States alone, the number of people whose jobs depend on MAX production exceeds 50,000. These men and women will be the victims of bad decisions and greed.
Many Boeing suppliers have invested in order to increase their production capacity. By 2019, the production rate of the MAX was to increase to 57 per month and then to 62. Never will production reach this pace and suppliers will never be able to recover their investment. Many companies will be bankrupt and not just in the United States. The shutdown of the MAX in 2020 will be the biggest disruption in the aeronautical supply chain since the end of World War II.>>> Follow us on Facebook and Twitter