March 27, 2019 / 2:55 PM / a month ago

U.S. transport chief: 'Questionable' why some Boeing safety features not required

WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told a Senate committee on Wednesday it was “very questionable” why some Boeing 737 MAX safety features were not required, but she stopped short of saying the government would require retrofitting all aircraft.

“It is very questionable that these were safety oriented additions, why they were not part of the required template of measures that should go into an airplane,” Chao said, saying the issue will be reviewed by an outside committee and the department’s inspector general.

Reuters reported last week that Boeing plans to mandate a previously-optional cockpit warning light as part of a software update to the 737 MAX fleet that was grounded in the wake of the fatal crashes, said the officials, who asked not to be identified. That feature might have warned earlier of problems that possibly played a role in the crashes of Ethiopian and Indonesian planes that killed almost 350 people.

Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Nick Zieminski

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