U.S. Senate panel hearing set for March 27 with FAA after fatal crashes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate panel plans a hearing on March 27 on aviation safety after two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashes since October, and said it will also schedule a future hearing with Boeing and other manufacturers, officials said on Wednesday.

The hearing on federal oversight on commercial aviation by the Senate Commerce subcommittee on aviation and space will include the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s acting administrator Dan Elwell, National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt and Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin Scovel.

Federal prosecutors are investigating the FAA’s certification of the Boeing 737 MAX that was grounded last week by regulators around the world.

The panel chaired by Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, said that “in light of the recent tragedy in Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, this hearing will examine challenges to the state of commercial aviation safety, including any specific concerns highlighted by recent accidents.

A second hearing on aviation safety is planned “in the near future to hear from industry stakeholders that would include Boeing, other aviation manufacturers, airline pilots, and other stakeholders,” the committee said.

Boeing Co, the world’s biggest planemaker, faces growing obstacles to returning its grounded 737 MAX fleet to the skies, while details emerged of an Indonesian crash last October with potential similarities to the Ethiopian disaster on March 10.

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