Boeing 737 Max: The FAA wanted a safe plane – but didn't want to hurt America's biggest exporter either

phys.org | 3/22/2019 | Staff
nallynally (Posted by) Level 4
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Recent incidents aside, air travel is incredibly safe these days.

Global airplane fatalities averaged 840 a year from 2010 to 2018, compared with almost 2,000 in the 1990s. In fact, this decade is on pace to see the fewest casualties since the dawn of jet travel in the 1930s.

March - Crash - Ethiopian - Airlines - Flight

Yet the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 serves as a stark reminder that despite the significant safety gains in commercial aviation, accidents are still possible. And when they occur, the number of fatalities is often large.

What makes the most recent crash particularly concerning is that the airplane design may have played a significant contributing role. Perhaps even worse, there are early indications that regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration – the agency that oversees the development and certification of all U.S. airplanes – may have been more concerned about bringing the Boeing 737 Max to market than about consumer safety.

Result - Observers - FAA - Boeing - Transportation

As a result, observers have accused the FAA of being too cozy with Boeing. And transportation officials in both the U.S. and Canada plan to review how the plane got certified to fly by the FAA.

As experts on the regulatory process, we see this as a tragic example of what happens when an agency must balance competing goals. The FAA was supposed to protect air travelers and regulate aircraft makers. At the same time, it doesn't want to make it harder for companies like Boeing to make money in a very competitive global market.

Rivalry - Boeing - Troubles

And a heated rivalry is exactly where Boeing's current troubles began.

The global market for jetliners has been dominated by two major competitors: Boeing and Airbus. Since the 1990s, they've been in a bruising battle over market share.

Competition - Narrow-body - Single-aisle - Aircraft - Market

Competition has been particularly fierce in the narrow-body or single-aisle aircraft market. This segment historically has made up about two-thirds of deliveries...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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