The U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating whether there were lapses in the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of Boeing planes involved in two recent fatal crashes, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
The DOT probe was launched after a new Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea in October last year, according to the Journal, which cited people familiar with the inquiry. None of the 189 people on board survived.
Earlier this month, on March 10, a second Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed shortly after take-off, killing all 157 people on board the Ethiopian Airlines plane. Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said on Sunday that preliminary data retrieved from the plane’s flight data recorder showed “a clear similarity” with the Indonesian incident.
The DOT investigation is concentrated on a flight safety system suspected of playing a role in the fatal crash in Indonesia, the Journal reported. The WSJ reported in November last year that Boeing failed to warn the airline industry about a potentially dangerous feature in its new flight-control system.
When contacted for comment on the Journal report, an FAA spokesman referred CNBC to the DOT instead. The transportation department did not immediately reply to CNBC’s request for comment, which was sent outside U.S. office hours.