How Safe Are Today’s New Commercial Aircraft?

Chriss Swaney

Sarasota, FL ( – For years, the FAA has essentially allowed airplane manufacturers to sign off on the safety of their own products, according to Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Board (NTSB).

“I regret that Boeing and the FAA in light of the recent two crashes of the 737 MAX failed to put the safety of the public first,” said Hall. “As a result, 346 souls lost their lives.”

Hall said he has been battling since 2013 to make certain new commercial plane inspections are done “right” the first time around. “We’ve been so worried about revamping our country’s physical infrastructure that we have neglected to overhaul our regulatory structures,” Hall lamented.

Hall and other aviation experts agree that America’s reputation around the world as a leader in aviation safety “is gong to be impacted because of our failure to put safety first and keep the aircraft on the ground until we’re confident we know what went wrong.”

Hall praised President Donald Trump for grounding the Boeing 737 MAX late Wednesday to protect the flying public.

Even before the president grounded all Boeing 737 MAX planes in the U.S., the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) called on the FAA to temporarily ground the 737 MAX fleet in the U.S. out of an abundance of caution in the wake of a second fatal accident involving the 737 MAX 8 aircraft, and until the FAA identified fixes to the plane that can be installed, communicated and confirmed. “This is about public confidence in the safety of air travel,” said Sara Nelson, AFA president.

Prior to President Trump’s grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, a number of countries banned the aircraft from their airspace, until it is clear about the plane’s safety.

Financial analysts report that the cost of grounding all 737 MAX planes could cost between $1 billion and $5 billion. But Boeing could afford the cost: It posted a record revenue of $101 billion last year, and a $10.6 billion profit.

Prior to the second crash, Boeing had issued information to pilots and airlines about how to handle the plane’s new anti-stall system that may have caused the nose of both planes to erroneously and fatally dip downward.

Southwest Airlines, which uses the aircraft on some flights at Midway Airport, removed all 34 of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft from service Wednesday. Those aircraft account for less than 5 percent of Southwest’s daily flights, the airline said.

United Airlines said it also would comply with the FAA’s order and ground its 14 737 MAX 9 aircraft, which handle about 40 flights a day. And American Airlines said it would be working to rebook customers as soon as possible.

In the FAA order immediately grounding flights, the agency said the investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday found new information from the wreckage that, along with data on the aircraft’s flight path, pointed to similarities with the Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crash in Indonesia last year.

The single aisle Boeing 737 MAX was poised to generate about $30 billion in annual revenue as manufacturing output was to go to a 57-jet pace monthly.

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