Sec. Chao: Conflicts of Interest at 30,000 Feet

Chao Appoints Boeing Exec to Safety Oversight Committee, FAA Hints at Ungrounding Boeing 737 MAX

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has appointed an executive from Boeing to a safety and oversight committee within her department. The move was announced as Trump’s Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing continue to hint that Boeing’s 737 MAX could be ungrounded as soon as October. The news of this troubling conflict of interest emerged this week despite the fact that Boeing knew about problems with safety features on the 737 MAX in 2017, long before a high-profile plane crash last October.

“It is almost as if Sec. Chao and President Trump require a blatant conflict of interest before they will consider appointing someone to a job in the administration. How else do you explain the selection of a Boeing exec for a safety committee so soon after the company admitted it was aware of problems with safety features on its 737 MAX long before the Lion Air crash killed 189 people in Indonesia?” asked Karl Frisch, a senior advisor to Restore Public Trust.



  • Secretary Chao Announced That Beth Pasztor, Vice President Of Safety At Boeing, Would Be Appointed To The Department Of Transportation’s Safety Oversight And Certification Advisory Committee. “U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced the appointment of 22 members to DOT’s new Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC). ‘The committee’s input will help the Department ensure that the FAA remains the world’s leader in aviation safety,’ said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. […] The following individuals are being appointed as voting members to the SOCAC: […] Beth Pasztor, Vice President, Safety, Security and Compliance, Boeing Commercial Airplanes” [Department of Transportation – press release, 8/22/19]
  • Seattle Times: The Federal Aviation Administration And Boeing Took Actions Hinting That The FAA Was Moving Towards Ungrounding The 737 MAX As Soon As October. “Thursday brought more strong hints that Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration are moving steadily toward ungrounding the 737 MAX as soon as October. The FAA said Thursday it’s inviting ‘a cross-section of line pilots from carriers that operate the aircraft around the world’ to participate in simulator testing ‘as part of the overall testing and validating of new procedures on the Boeing 737 MAX.’ And according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board that determines U.S. pilot-training requirements aims to issue in early September new recommendations for exactly what MAX pilot training is needed before U.S. airlines can fly passengers on the airplane again. Meanwhile, Boeing gave suppliers a new 737 production schedule reflecting ‘timing assumptions for the 737 MAX return to service plan.’” [Seattle Times, 8/22/19]


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