Early-stage criminal investigations began after the crash of a Lion Air 737 Max aircraft in Indonesia in October 2018, sources said. Minister of Transport Elaine Chao asked the Inspector General of the Agency on Tuesday to investigate the Max certification.
Criminal investigators have searched Boeing for information on safety and certification procedures, including training manuals for pilots, as well as information on how the company has marketed the new aircraft, sources said.
It is not yet clear what possible criminal laws might be possible issue in the probe. Investigators are investigating, among other things, the process by which Boeing has identified the aircraft as safe, and the data that the FAA has submitted on this self-certification is being investigated in Washington.
The safety of the 737 Max was questioned after being involved in two deadly crashes in less than five months. Both the crash last October with the Lion Air-Jet and the crash last week on an Ethiopian Airlines plane led to the death of everyone on board.
The FAA and others have reported data similarities between the crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopia.