Rep. Estes Urges FAA to Define 737 MAX Recertification Process
Washington, January 17, 2020 | Greg Steele (202-225-6216)
WASHINGTON—As the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX continues to have negative consequences on Kansas' aviation industry, Congressman Ron Estes (R-Kansas) wrote a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week urging the agency to employ a defined recertification process. Last week, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita announced 2,800 layoffs due to the 737 MAX production halt.
"I want to ensure that the FAA is following an approach for returning the 737 MAX to service that is guided by a defined process with standards, expectations, and a schedule," said Rep. Estes. "While I did not expect the FAA to have the ability to provide an exact date as to when airworthiness will be restored, I request that in carrying out the remainder of the recertification process, the FAA fulfill their mission of safety in a clear process with defined standards."
In the letter to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, Rep. Estes addressed the impact of the 737 MAX grounding on Spirit, as well as other suppliers throughout Kansas and the country. As aircraft safety remains the top priority, Rep. Estes noted the importance of also defining milestones and standards to ensure the recertification process can be completed without unnecessary delays which will harm workers and the aviation industry.
Read Rep. Estes' letter to the FAA here.
Following the Congressman's letter, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Special Committee to Review the Federal Aviation Administration's Aircraft Certification Process released its findings yesterday. The report concluded that "overall, the FAA’s certification, as set forth by Congress and governed by regulation, is effective; however, reforms must be adopted to help our extremely safe aviation system become even better at identifying and mitigating risk."
The Committee also found that "the FAA’s aircraft certification process was followed by the FAA and Boeing in the certification of the 737 MAX 8; however, again, there is opportunity for improvement in multiple areas."
Drawing from the Committee's conclusions, Rep. Estes will continue to work with the FAA to define a clear process for recertification, as well as engage with other stakeholders and government leaders to support impacted workers in Kansas. As part of this goal, Rep. Estes and his office are engaged in the Air Capital Commitment, a coordinated effort formed to connect impacted workers with resources and support the region's aviation industry.
Ron Estes is a 5th generation Kansan and represents Kansas’ 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means.