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U.S. names experts to Boeing certification review panel

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said on Monday she named four experts to a blue-ribbon committee to review the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) aircraft certification process after two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes killed nearly 350 people.

Chao said she was naming NASA's former aviation safety program director Amy Pritchett and Gretchen Haskins, chief executive of HeliOffshore Ltd, an international expert in aviation safety and a former U.S. Air Force officer.

She also named Kenneth Hylander, chief safety officer at Amtrak and a former senior safety executive at Delta and Northwest airlines, and J. David Grizzle, chairman of the board of Republic Airways and a former FAA chief counsel.

The committee is "specifically tasked to review the 737 MAX 800 certification process from 2012 to 2017, and recommend improvements to the certification process."

U.S. lawmakers have criticized the FAA's program that allows Boeing Co and other manufacturers to oversee the process that ensures air worthiness and other vital safety aspects of new aircraft.

Chao said last month the panel would be co-chaired by retired Air Force General Darren McDew, the former head of the U.S. Transportation Command, and Lee Moak, a former president of the Air Line Pilots Association.

Federal prosecutors, the Transportation Department’s inspector general and lawmakers are investigating the FAA’s certification of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft. A joint review by 10 governmental air regulators is also set to start April 29.


(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown)