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FAA Announces New Safety Rules Long Sought by Boeing Crash Victims’ Families

On September 7, 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) introduced new rules that ensure the independence of safety inspectors hired by airline companies such as Boeing. Under the Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act engineers can be hired by companies through Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) to supplement government resources.

In the past, these engineers have faced pressure from large companies despite having the task of carrying out government-regulated safety oversight inspections, stating their inability to raise concerns over safety without fear of corporate interference. It is believed that the added transparency and expectations placed on large companies will ensure greater safety in commercial aviation.

Boeing’s airplanes and leadership have been under scrutiny following two very similar crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max model, the first in 2018 in Indonesia, and the second in Ethiopia in 2019. In both crashes, it was determined that a flaw in an automated system was a key reason the planes went into a dive. This flaw had not been identified by previous safety reviews.

Robert A. Clifford, Lead Counsel in the pending litigation on the Boeing crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that killed all 157 aboard, responded to the FAA’s announcement with the sentiment that families affected by the crashes have been anticipating these changes.

“It advances aviation safety, so we ought to embrace and applaud this long-awaited step by the FAA,” Clifford said.

The FAA’s rules outline added layers of accountability for companies such as Boeing, including the following specifications:

  • Company employees who work for the FAA must be allowed to communicate with government employees and serve as a direct channel for raising serious safety concerns
  • Engineers working on behalf of the FAA must be given an anonymous annual survey about interference
  • Companies are required to investigate suspected incidents of interference
  • Interference not only includes obvious reprisals for reporting safety issues but also includes actions such as giving employees additional responsibilities that get in the way of work on the public’s behalf

Clifford Law Offices has represented victims and their families in nearly every major commercial airline crash in the U.S. in the last 40 years and has become recognized as one of the top aviation law firms in the nation. To learn more about our Chicago-based firm contact us at (312) 899-9090.