FAA global conference tries to reassert its authority

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The Federal Aviation Administration was considered the premier safety and operational certification authority in the world. Until the 737Max crashes.

It’s lack of action and slow responses – and seemingly an unwillingness to act, which left many around the world feeling their lives were not as valuable as American ones. If the crashes had happened inside the US the response would have been very different.

It seems the FAA has realised that its preeminent position needs to be regained and quickly. Under pressure from the administration and Boeing, whose production lines haven’t stopped and Max’s pile up in the desert at the rate of 42 a month, costing the company a fortune.

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With 737Max’s now being flown out to storage in the desert, having run out of space in Washington state, and no money coming in from sales, something has to be done.

One of the biggest issues isn’t the FAA announcing the Max is certified and safe. It’s that once, the FAA said so and everyone else just towed the line, accepting an FAA certification as globally acceptable.

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Those days are going to be tough to get back. The conference at which Boeing will not be present directly (although no doubt the FAA will keep it in the loop), is aimed at convincing the worlds regulators to accept the FAA’s word as it did before.

If they don’t, and it’s a very big if, then Boeing faces having to persuade dozens of individual aviation authorities world-wide that it’s 737Max is safe. It’s not likely but it’s quite possible that Europe, China and India at the least, may want their own inspectors to report and convince them.

That could add months to returning the aircraft to service and cost Boeing billions. Neither the US administration or Boeing want that, and while each one will do its best to look disconnected from the others, the fact remains they’re all joined at the hip behind the scenes and these days, everybody knows it.

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