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US FAA should mandate safety management systems for Boeing, others

Reuters/Washington
Filed on January 16, 2020 | Last updated on January 16, 2020 at 10.10 pm
Boeing's safety culture was harshly criticised last week after it released hundreds of internal messages about the development of the 737 MAX.

(Reuters file)

Panel recommends mandate of Safety Management Systems for 'design and manufacturing organisations'

An expert committee on Thursday recommended the Federal Aviation Administration require Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers to adopt new safety management tools in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people.

The expert panel, led by a retired Air Force general and a former head of the Air Lines Pilot Association, also called for improvements in how the FAA certifies new planes.

It did not back ending the long-standing practice of delegating some certification tasks to aircraft manufacturers.

The panel, which was named by US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in April, recommended the FAA mandate Safety Management Systems (SMS) for "design and manufacturing organisations".

The FAA currently requires them for airlines.

The special committee report released on Thursday said "unlike the current certification system's focus on compliance, SMSs foster a holistic assessment of whether the combinations of actions such as design, procedures, and training work together to counter potential hazards."

Boeing's safety culture was harshly criticised last week after it released hundreds of internal messages about the development of the 737 MAX.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson praised the recommendation to "advance the use of Safety Management Systems throughout all sectors of the aviation industry," adding that the FAA will review the findings.

Southwest extends cancellations of MAX flights

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines said on Thursday it is extending cancellations of 737 MAX flights until June 6, citing the planemaker's decision to recommend pilot simulator training before resuming flights and uncertainty about when regulators will approve their return to service.

The decision follows a similar announcement by American Airlines earlier this week to extend cancellations until June 3.

Southwest, the largest operator of the MAX worldwide, said it is now removing roughly 330 weekday flights from its more than 4,000 daily flights, which is 10 per cent higher than in December when it said it was removing roughly 300 weekday flights through April 13.



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