Senator Collins Calls for Increased Oversight of Boeing to Prevent Future Tragedies

“Safety has to be the number one priority for FAA, way ahead of making sure that manufacturers can meet their deadlines for aircraft delivery.”

The transportation funding bill Senator Collins authored that is being considered by the Senate this week increases funding and mandates reforms for FAA


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Washington, D.C.—In remarks from the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, called for more stringent oversight of Boeing in the wake of two 737-MAX crashes that killed 346 people.  The Senate is expected to vote this week on a transportation funding bill Senator Collins authored that includes key provisions to enhance aviation safety.


“We need to make sure that FAA is a check on the delegation process—a true check—and is not captured by the industry that it regulates,” said Senator Collins.  “Safety has to be the number one priority for FAA, way ahead of making sure that manufacturers can meet their deadlines for aircraft delivery.  Safety has to come first. As a result of the work we conducted on our Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and our oversight hearing, Ranking Member Jack Reed and I have provided increased funding for aviation safety and aircraft certification activities.”


“If there’s a new system, we cannot allow training on that system to be bypassed and mention of that system to not be included in the manuals that accompany the aircraft,” Senator Collins continued.  “Pilots have to know going into that cockpit exactly what could happen, and they need training on simulators.  Clearly a lot of work needs to be done on this issue.  I believe we have taken some important first steps on the transportation funding bill that is before us.”


The fiscal year (FY) 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill Senator Collins wrote provides an increase of $32 million above the budget request for aviation safety programs, and it includes language that requires the FAA to implement recommendations from the Boeing 737-MAX investigations and audits. FAA is required to finalize a rulemaking requiring aviation manufacturers to establish a safety management system (SMS), which has a proven track record of improving safety culture, and to review and revise its workforce and training strategy for aviation safety personnel.


Last month, Senators Susan Collins and Jack Reed wrote to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson requesting additional information on the Office of Special Counsel’s conclusion that training for inspectors was incomplete and seeking clarification on testimony to Congress during the Subcommittee’s aviation safety hearing in July.