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A blue ribbon commission to probe how the FAA certifies new planes

Washington - A commission established by the U.S. Transportation Department will probe how the Federal Aviation Administration certifies new airliners after two Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in just five months.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has been criticized by lawmakers for allowing Boeing to perform functions of the agency for the evaluation of the new planes' safety features.

The commission will ask the FAA how the airworthiness certification of the new airplanes is managed.

On March 25, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it has never allowed aircraft manufacturers to control themselves or self-certify their aircraft.

The agency also said the 737 MAX certification was carried out in accordance with the agency’s standard processes and took around five years from start to finish.

The commission will 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.

“This review by leading outside experts will help determine if improvements can be made to the FAA's aircraft certification process,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.

The findings of the commission will be presented directly to Chao and the FAA, the Transportation Department said.

Boeing is expected to reveal the details of a software update for the 737 MAXs on March 27 at a meeting with airline representatives, airline pilots, and country regulators.