For more than six decades, the Federal Aviation Administration has relied on employees of airplane manufacturers to do government-required safety inspections as planes are being designed or assembled.
But critics say the system is too cozy as company employees do work for an agency charged with keeping the skies safe while being paid by an industry that the FAA is regulating.
The FAA’s oversight duties are coming under greater scrutiny after deadly crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets operated by airlines in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing a total of 346 people. The U.S. was nearly alone in allowing the planes to keep flying until it relented on Wednesday.
The FAA concedes that it lacks resources but its program’s results speak for themselves. The U.S. has the safest skies in the world.