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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House Transportation Committee on Wednesday released a scathing report, highlighting "repeated and serious failures" by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration that preceded two deadly 737 MAX jet crashes in 2018 and 2019.

The big picture: The 239-page report says the crashes, which killed 346 people, were the result of a "horrific culmination" of poor technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency by Boeing’s management and insufficient oversight by the FAA.

The report's findings:

FAA management overruled the conclusions of their own technical experts "at the behest of Boeing."

  • This was consistent with a recent survey in which FAA employees said they believed management was more concerned with helping the aviation industry achieve its goals.
  • The FAA's oversight structure for Boeing created "inherent conflicts of interest that have jeopardized the safety of the flying public," pointing to instances in which Boeing employees who work on behalf of the FAA didn't alert the agency about potential certification and safety issues.

Production pressures at Boeing to compete with its European counterpart Airbus led to "extensive efforts to cut costs, maintain the 737 MAX program schedule, and avoid slowing the 737 MAX production line."

  • Boeing made "faulty assumptions" about the plane's MCAS software, designed to push the nose of the plane down in certain conditions given the plane's structural changes from a traditional 737. Many pilots worldwide weren't aware of the system.
  • Boeing also "withheld crucial information from the FAA, its customers, and 737 MAX pilots," including about the MCAS software.

The bottom line: "The fact that a compliant airplane suffered from two deadly crashes in less than five months is clear evidence that the current regulatory system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repaired," the report concluded.

Read the report.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the Boeing 737 MAX crashes

Go deeper

Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump's Air Force One problem

Boeing model of what the new Air Force One 747s will look like if Biden chooses to keep the current color scheme. Illustration courtesy of Boeing.

One of President Trump's favorite items on display in the Oval Office has been a model of Boeing's Air Force One revamp that swaps Jackie Kennedy's iconic light blue design for Trump's preferred look: a white top and dark blue bottom set off with a red stripe.

What he's saying: "Isn't it beautiful? Now it's actually patriotic," Trump has told visiting foreign leaders and other visitors, according to a person he's shown it to.

6 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.