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Hearing of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - Lessons Learned from the Boeing 787 Incidents

Hearing

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

I would like to thank Chairman LoBiondo for holding this hearing and the steps FAA and Boeing took to get the 787 back safely into service. I would also like to thank the witnesses for participating in the hearing, and I look forward to hearing from both of them.

The United States air transportation system safely transports roughly 730 million passengers each year, resulting in more than 70,000 flights each day. This system is the safest aviation system in the world, due in no small part to the efforts of the FAA, airlines, manufacturers, controllers, and other operators and stakeholders in the system.

The Committee remained in close contact with the FAA and Boeing from the immediate aftermath of these incidents through the final approval to return to revenue service. As a result of the Committees oversight activities, it was readily apparent throughout the process that everyone was working together to determine what had gone wrong and to find a solution. I greatly appreciate the meetings and briefings we had with Secretary LaHood, Deputy Secretary Porcari, Administrator Huerta, and numerous Boeing officials.

Engineers from Boeing and the FAA spent thousands of hours to find a mitigating solution that would allow for the safe return to flight. The final approval of the comprehensive battery solution came only after confirmation that all possible causes of the battery short circuit were addressed. New aircraft with new use of technology can experience issues, and it's important that they be addressed early. However, this does not mean that these aircraft are unsafe.

The incidents, the FAA and Boeing's responses to the incidents, and their reviews of the 787 certification process, are a valuable learning opportunity. While reviews are ongoing, I look forward to hearing from the witnesses what the FAA and Boeing have learned through this process so far. The Committee will continue to closely monitor the FAA's certification processes and the 787 as it resumes normal operations. I would again like to thank Chairman LoBiondo for holding this hearing, and thank the FAA and Boeing for attending.


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