As Boeing continues to be scrutinized by the FAA and NTSB at great cost to Washington State taxpayers and employees, all airlines customer confidence is also taking a major hit. The Renton plant is under extreme pressure, with the FAA demanding nose to tail and wing to wing inspections. It is reported that the work culture is also under stress and investigation, and the brakes have been slammed on any hope to return rapidly to full speed production, while Boeing’s capacity is being restricted by federal mandate. While the Everett facility may be getting a current pass, as the focus remains on Renton and a Wichita, Kansas supplier, fears remain about America’s aerospace structure.
Boeing is not alone. On January 31st, and Airbus 330 left Frankfurt, Germany for D.C. After takeoff, it experienced increased noise and vibration. Upon its return to FRA, emergency services were on standby. LH-440 was canceled, and the aircraft has not operated any flights since the date of the incident. They are the world’s top two aircraft manufacturers on which most of the public flying depends.
Today, February 6, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), the lead Democrat (or Ranking Member) on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, will participate in an Aviation Subcommittee hearing titled, “The State of American Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration.”
FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker is expected to testify during today’s hearing. During the hearing, Subcommittee members will discuss the challenges facing the FAA and U.S. aerospace industry, the ongoing work of the agency, and the need for a long-term comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill.
As Ranking Member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Larsen is focused on ensuring U.S. aviation remains the global gold standard in safety through rigorous oversight of the FAA and the aviation industry. Last week, Larsen and Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-MO) outlined several questions Administrator Whitaker should be prepared to answer related to the January 5th rapid depressurization accident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. In July, the House of Representatives passed the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), a bill to reauthorize the FAA and critical aviation safety and infrastructure programs for the next five years, with broad bipartisan support in a 351-69 vote.
Additional details, including written testimony and a livestream, can be found here once available. The hearing will be livestreamed through the Committee’s YouTube page: Livestream
For those interested, Larsen will participate in the Aviation Subcommittee hearing on the state of American aviation and the FAA at 7:00 a.m. PST/10:00 a.m. EST.