Boeing could get hit with a subpoena over its 2 deadly 737 Max 8 crashes

Tom Williams/CQ Roll CalRep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon conducting a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on February 7.

A powerful Democratic senator has said he’s willing to use the House transportation committee’s subpoena power on Boeing following a second deadly crash involving its 737 Max 8 plane.

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told The New York Times in an article published Wednesday that he planned to seek copies of “all relevant communications” between the company and the government’s aviation regulator.

“This warrants vigorous investigation,” he told The Times. “We’re going to get anything in writing there is to get.”

The committee reportedly plans to focus on the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification of the 737 Max and why the agency did not require more training on the updated version of the plane.

US officials grounded the plane model Wednesday, following similar bans by much of the developed world the day prior. President Donald Trump’s emergency order was preceded by calls from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to follow the example set by Europe, China, and many other countries in grounding the plane model after Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Daniel Elwell, the acting administrator of the FAA, said the government waited to ground the planes until it had sufficient information linking Sunday’s crash to the October crash of a 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air in similar conditions. As both crashes remain under investigation, an autopilot function has come under scrutiny.

“We got new information yesterday, and we acted on it,” he told NBC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday. “It is, in our minds now, a link that is close enough to ground the aeroplanes.”

“When the FAA makes a decision like grounding aeroplanes, any safety decision of that magnitude, we do it based on data,” he added. “We’re a data-driven organisation, it’s why US aviation has been so incredibly safe and frankly why aviation has been safe around the world – you have to establish at least more than a gut feeling that two crashes are related before you ground an entire fleet.”

More on Boeing’s 737 Max 8 and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster:

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