The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee will grill FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker on the agency’s actions and future actions on oversight of Boeing Tuesday and they gave him some homework to help him prepare. He will be asked whether the agency found ongoing quality deficiencies before an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX-9 went through a rapid decompression on Jan. 5 and how it worked with airlines to minimize schedule disruptions in the subsequent grounding.

Leaders of both committees sent a Jan. 31 letter addressed to FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker asking him to prepare for a series of questions related to his agency’s surveillance of Boeing and its suppliers. “What changes, if any, is the FAA considering to its current risk model for inspecting production facilities?” and “Is the FAA properly staffed and resourced to ensure effective aircraft production oversight, including in its Integrated Certificate Management Division?” are among the questions legislators have posed ahead of the hearing. 

While Whitaker can expect a tough session on Feb. 6, the committee leaders said in the letter they approved of the FAA’s actions in the aftermath of the incident. “We support the decisions made thus far by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the MAX 9 aircraft, including the announced audit of Boeing’s quality control and safety practices and investigation into Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 manufacturing. These actions, including those regarding the return to service, are designed to ensure that the highest manufacturing and quality control standards are maintained throughout our aviation ecosystem.”

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