22, March 2019
The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing company’s 737 MAX as new details emerge from two deadly crashes in five months, according to US media reports.
The FBI will lend its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by US Department of Transportation, the Seattle Times reported on Thursday.
The FBI and Boeing have not confirmed an investigation.
Criminal investigations into the US aviation industry, including federal oversight of airplane manufacturing and airline operations, are rare, the report said.
The federal investigation is being overseen by the US Justice Department’s criminal division and carried out by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General.
More than 300 Boeing 737 MAX planes have been grounded globally following a fatal plane crash in Ethiopia on March 10.
A 737 MAX passenger jet crashed five months earlier on October 29 into the Java Sea in Indonesia.
The Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes killed 346 people.
The crisis for the world’s largest aviation company is growing as the European Union and Canada said they would seek their own guarantees over the safety of the 737 MAX.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people has sharpened focus on a new automated system in the MAX model that guides the nose lower to avoid stalling.
Boeing has halted deliveries of its best-selling model, one intended to be the industry standard but now under a shadow.
There were more than 300 MAX airplanes in operation worldwide at the time of the Ethiopian crash, and nearly 5,000 more on order. The list price for each plane is $121 million.
Norwegian Airlines has already said it will seek compensation after grounding its MAX aircraft, and various companies are re-considering orders.