F.A.A. to Improve Oversight of Boeing and Audit 737 Max 9 Manufacturing

The Federal Aviation Administration mentioned on Friday that it was increasing its scrutiny of Boeing, rising oversight of the corporate with an audit of manufacturing of the 737 Max 9, every week after a panel within the physique of a type of planes was blown out throughout flight.

The audit will assess whether or not Boeing and its suppliers adhered to accredited high quality management practices. The company additionally mentioned that it will extra intently scrutinize issues on the Max 9 and examine security dangers related to the company’s apply of outsourcing some oversight to approved Boeing workers, which was criticized by some lawmakers and safety experts after two crashes of 737 Max 8 planes that killed 346 individuals.

“It is time to re-examine the delegation of authority and assess any associated safety risks,” the company’s administrator, Mike Whitaker, mentioned in an announcement. “The grounding of the 737-9 and the multiple production-related issues identified in recent years require us to look at every option to reduce risk.”

There have been no critical accidents from the accident final week, however the episode might have been much more catastrophic had it occurred when the airplane was at cruising altitude; the panel blew out when the airplane was at 16,000 ft and nonetheless ascending. Investigators are centered on what prompted the panel, a plug for an unused exit door, to abruptly be ripped out of the airplane.

The F.A.A. has for years outsourced to company workers some oversight of the certification of airplanes and airplane components. After a prolonged investigation into the design, growth and certification of the Max, Home Democrats criticized that practice, saying that the company had outsourced an excessive amount of accountability to Boeing workers, who is probably not sufficiently impartial.

Some aviation consultants say the apply is critical given the F.A.A.’s restricted assets and altering it will require Congress to offer the company extra money and authority to rent extra professionals. Outsourcing of oversight is widespread amongst regulators, however a Government Accountability Office report in 2022 discovered that the F.A.A. doesn’t audit the apply as intently because the European Union Aviation Security Company. That yr, the company mentioned it had strengthened oversight of the apply by higher defending the deputized firm workers from interference.

In his assertion on Friday, Mr. Whitaker, who solely lately turned F.A.A. administrator, mentioned he could be keen to offer this system one other look. He additionally mentioned that the company was exploring using an impartial third social gathering to supervise Boeing’s inspections and its high quality system.

On Thursday, the F.A.A. introduced an investigation into whether Boeing failed to make sure that the airplane was as much as requirements and protected to function.