How Good Is The FAA At Watching Over Boeing Today?

By Spyros Georgilidakis | April 18, 2024

After last January’s 737 MAX-9 blowout AND added scrutiny since the MAX groundings, is the FAA actually effective at overseeing Boeing now?

Boeing has understandably come under a lot of attention in recent weeks and months, with airlines, investors, AND lawmakers continuing to scrutinize the manufacturer. But ever since the Boeing 737 MAX crashes and the grounding that followed, the FAA has also come under fire, for its lack of scrutiny on Boeing.

How Good Is The FAA At Watching Over Boeing Today?
Boeing’s HQ in Virginia. Photo: mr_t_77, CC BY-SA 2.0

Since then, the FAA has been making many changes in its processes. The most visible result of this is the amount of time it takes for the agency to certify newer Boeing aircraft, like the 777X and newer 737 MAX variants.

But are these changes enough? Well, today U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that the Office of Inspector General is auditing the FAA and its oversight of Boeing.

Photo: Boeing

Boeing Employees Still Doing FAA Work

The agency will look specifically at the manufacturing of the 737 and 787, both of which have been in the news. Even after recent events, and its increase in oversight of Boeing’s activities, the FAA still has to rely on thousands of Boeing employees to do supervisory and certification work for Boeing’s own aircraft and their parts.

The FAA has previously come under fire for this practice, which isn’t uncommon in the industry, including in other parts of the world. However, the FAA has previously pointed out that U.S. legislators haven’t approved anything like enough funds for the agency to do this kind of work independently.

How Good Is The FAA At Watching Over Boeing Today?
Department of Transport FAA Headquarters. Photo: Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0

Pete Buttigieg commented on the news, saying: “It’s very healthy for the to be constantly auditing everything that happens across the ”.

It will be interesting to see if this audit and other regulatory and legislative moves can change these arrangements over the next few months. There are reports that there is resistance to increasing funding for the FAA, which the agency would need in order to take on more roles in looking over Boeing and other, smaller companies in the industry.


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