737Max: claims pile up, spin runs riot, and the FAA fails to stop the rot

The last couple of weeks have seen some frankly disturbing spin – not least testimony to the US Congress that did everything it could to blame pilots.

The angle of attack during the testimony was the very approach that has seen American influence over the lifting of the grounding decline at an unprecedented pace. In essence it’s claims were based on the premise that foreign pilots weren’t as good as American pilots. The subtextual racism did nothing but alienate Ethiopia and Indonesia even further.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO was rightly furious over the allegations and Lion Air was further outraged, when reports tried to suggest it was a bird strike that caused their crash.

The FAA singularly failed to persuade other aviation certification agencies – China unsurprisingly given the trade war, and EASA in Europe taking little time in laying out their own preconditions for Max recertification that don’t comply with Boeing/FAA’s simpler versions.

On top of all this it now appears Boeing belatedly admitted its flight simulator software couldn’t replicate the problem and therefore nobody could be trained in how to counter it.

If that wasn’t enough $1.4 billion in claims is already pending and one family is suing Boeing for $276m alone. Much, much more is expected.

Airlines are lining up to make claims on Boeing as profits and schedules are hit during the busy summer months. Three Chinese airlines have clubbed together to make a multi million claim.

Add to that the loss of confidence and bad PR that reflects on airlines, the number of smaller airlines reconsidering their choice is rising. Some just don’t feel they can justify such a tainted aircraft.

Larger airlines don’t care, they’re carry on because they have such vast commitments to the type, any other choice isn’t viable. Southwest, American, RyanAir just want it resolved.

In RyanAir’s case it’s worked in their favour. Poor results have enamels them to defer the order with ease.

And through it all, investigations continue to reveal a deeply flawed FAA/Boeing relationship and yet nobody really knows how to fix it.

With no other manufacturers who else but Boeing has the experienced people to review the aircrafts systems? Congress doesn’t want to give the FAA more money to hire and train its own specialists. That’s what lead to self certification by Boeing in the first place.

While Boeing claims to have fixed the problem, and wants to deploy it, analysts are saying that some aircraft won’t be back in service until next year. And every one of the certifying agencies around the world has every incentive to prove they are doing what the FAA is largely seen as having failed to do – their job, keeping the flying public safe.