FAA questions some Boeing appointees expertise for certification tasks

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told Boeing that some of its appointees overseeing aircraft certification tasks lack expertise and directed the largest U.S. planemaker to quickly address the issue.
In a Nov. 2 letter seen by Reuters, the FAA told Boeing an oversight review conducted this summer found some appointees did not have required expertise and found some of those Boeing employees performing certification tasks for the agency "are not meeting FAA expectations."
The air regulator added that of 12 recent appointees who handle safety matters on the agency’s behalf, some "38% struggled to demonstrate an understanding of FAA certification processes."
An FAA spokesman said the letter speaks for itself.
Under a new law adopted in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in five months that killed 346 people, the FAA will start exercising new oversight over the selection of candidates who perform safety work on the FAA's behalf.
Starting Jan. 1, Boeing will nominate candidates for but the FAA must approve or reject them. The FAA will also review existing members.
Boeing said Wednesday it is "committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety and quality in all that we do, and that includes the important work of Boeing employees who are designated as authorized representatives. We respect the FAA’s oversight role and look forward to strengthening" the selection process and overall program.
The letter also cited concerns about appointment evaluation panels have "not demonstrated an independent assessment of a candidate’s experience and technical capability." The FAA directed Boeing to investigate and submit "corrective action" within 30 days.
The day after the letter was sent, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told Congress that Boeing has "more work to do."
"Boeing is not the same as it was two years ago but they have more to work to do," Dickson said. "We have reset the relationship with Boeing in no uncertain terms.
Boeing agreed to a $2.5 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department into the MAX as part of a deferred prosecution agreement.

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