Larsen Opening Statement at Aviation Subcommittee Hearing on “Three Years After Lion Air 610: FAA Implementation of the 2020 Aircraft Certification, Safety and Accountability Act”
Washington, D.C., October 21, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, released the below statement during the Aviation Subcommittee hearing examining ongoing work within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement provisions of the bipartisan Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act. More information about Thursday's hearing, including witnesses and testimony, can be found here. For a recording of Chair Larsen’s opening remarks, click here. For a recording of Chair Larsen questioning FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, click here.
Remarks as prepared for delivery.
“Good morning and welcome to today’s Aviation Subcommittee hearing titled “Three Years After Lion Air 610: FAA Implementation of the 2020 Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act.”
“Nearly three years ago, on October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea.
“These two tragedies ended the lives of 346 people.
“Victims included parents, children, teachers, friends and humanitarians who deserved to arrive safely at their destinations, but never did.
“For nearly two years, victims’ families tirelessly lent their support to necessary reforms to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification process to reduce the likelihood other families would experience such devastating loss.
“I want to acknowledge and thank the victims’ families for your presence and your tireless advocacy.
“You and your loved ones remain at the forefront as this Committee oversees implementation of aircraft certification reform.
“I also want to acknowledge the hardworking women and men who go to work each day at the Boeing plant in Everett and are proud of the product they design, assemble and build.
“They are distraught this same product contributed to the deaths of so many and the grief of so many others.
“This hearing and this legislation are not about just one aircraft.
“They are about making air travel safer, restoring confidence in the aviation industry and ensuring U.S. aviation remains the global gold standard in terms of safety.
“In an historic effort, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee conducted a nearly two-year investigation into the design, development and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The Committee’s thorough investigation uncovered flawed management decisions and inadequate organizational structures at Boeing and FAA that were necessary to confront.
“Last December, the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act was signed into law to restore the integrity of the FAA’s aircraft certification process and make flight safer.
“This bipartisan legislation is built upon the lessons learned from the Committee’s investigation and the recommendations of the independent Technical Advisory Board, Joint Authorities Technical Review and other key entities.
“Among its provisions, the new law will:
“Improve aviation safety culture, by requiring aircraft and aerospace manufacturers to adopt safety management systems;
“Enhance transparency and accountability, by requiring the disclosure of certain safety-critical information related to an aircraft to the FAA;
“Address undue pressure on employees acting on behalf of the FAA, for example, extending airline whistleblower protections to U.S. aviation manufacturing employees; and
“Require sufficient evaluation of human factors in the certification process to ensure flight crews can do their jobs safely and efficiently.
“As with any comprehensive legislation designed to reform a complicated system like the certification of aircraft, implementation should not be expected to occur overnight.
“However, the legislation lays out specific timelines for actions by FAA to take place.
“FAA has provided updates on some of these actions but has not yet specific details on progress for many of the requirements.
“Today’s hearing is an opportunity for this Subcommittee to hear from the FAA on the status of these reforms, how the agency plans to implement them, and identify any potential causes for delay.
“I am pleased to welcome today’s witness, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, who has served in this role since August of 2019.
“Administrator Dickson, the past few years have been a tumultuous time in the agency’s history.
“I appreciate your and your team’s commitment to the implementation of the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act and your personal involvement in the review of the 737 MAX.
“While I am encouraged by the agency’s progress, clearly there is much more work to do.
“The United States is the leader in global aviation, and the FAA’s actions in the U.S. have profound implications for passenger air travel around the world.
“It is vital this Subcommittee carry out its responsibility to oversee the FAA’s implementation of the critical reforms enacted under the Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act.
“I look forward to today’s discussion on how to best support the FAA’s ongoing work to ensure the safety of the traveling public.”