U.S. FAA revokes certification of Xtra Aerospace after Lion Air crash

FILE PHOTO - An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including Lion Air, NordStar and Neos-branded airplanes at Boeing facilities at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, September 16, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday revoked the repair certification of Florida-based Xtra Aerospace LLC, which fixed a sensor suspected of contributing to the catastrophic crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX a year ago.

"Xtra failed to comply with requirements to repair only aircraft parts on list of parts acceptable to the FAA that it was capable of repairing," the FAA said, which had opened an investigation soon after the October 2018 crash.

Xtra responded in a statement that it had been cooperating closely with the FAA “and though we have reached a settlement with the FAA, we respectfully disagree with the agency’s findings.”

The company noted the FAA action was separate from the Indonesia’s “investigation and report of the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max accident and is not an indication that Xtra was responsible for the accident.”

A final report into the Lion Air 737 MAX crash by Indonesian investigators made public on Friday recommended that the FAA improve oversight of maintenance organizations.

Xtra Aerospace had conducted a repair on a Lion Air sensor that was miscalibrated, the report said, and gave erroneous readings that led to the activation of an anti-stall system that pushed down the plane’s nose. The report added that the lack of a “written procedure” at Xtra Aerospace was not detected by the FAA, which indicates “inadequacy of FAA oversight.”

The FAA order was part a settlement agreement with the company in which it agreed to waive its right to appeal the revocation to the National Transportation Safety Board or any court.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and David Shepardso in Washinton ; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Franklin Paul and Richard Chang