Boeing and American security officials on Thursday refused to cooperate on a new Dutch law enforcement investigation into a fatal crash near Amsterdam in 2009 that showed striking parallels to two recent accidents involving the manufacturer's 737 Max.
Members of the Dutch parliament wanted to ask Boeing CEO David Calhoun about the company's possible influence on the original Dutch investigation into the accident, in which nine people were killed on a Turkish Airlines flight. The National Transportation Safety Board also denied the legislature's request to participate.
Lawmakers initiated the review following a New York Times investigation into the evidence of the 2009 crash. It emerged that the Dutch security authorities either eliminated or downplayed some criticisms of Boeing in their accident report after being returned by an American team that included them, manufacturers and officials from the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Dutch authorities had also refused to publish an expert study in which Boeing was blown up due to "design defects" and other missteps. The investigative agency, the Dutch security agency, had classified the study as confidential, but later put it online after the Times had detailed its results.
Boeing and the N.T.S.B. declined to comment on Thursday. In a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives, the N.T.S.B. "There should be confidence in the integrity" of his participation in the first investigation into the 2009 crash and insist that his work was always "independent, transparent, and free from prejudice".
In a separate letter, Boeing's executive vice president of government operations, Timothy Keating, said the American team had been replaced by the N.T.S.B. and "we will follow the leadership of the N.T.S.B."
Dutch legislator Jan Paternotte, frustrated with Boeing's refusal to attend Thursday's hearing, compared the decision to the company's failures after Boeing's recent crash of the 737 Max, which killed 346 people plunged into the greatest crisis in its history. and shook international confidence in the manufacturer and its American regulators.
"The company has a lot of responsibility," said Paternotte, a member of the parliamentary committee that held the hearing. "This is just the latest example of Boeing trying to be its own referee."
Mr Paternotte noted that European governments would have to approve Max's corrections, which had been in place for almost a year, before it could be put back into operation. "Failure to answer questions does not help us build confidence in the company," he said.
The 2010 Dutch Safety Board report contained some criticisms of Boeing, but focused mainly on the mistakes of pilots who had not noticed that an automated system dangerously reduced the plane's speed immediately before landing. Investigators found that a faulty sensor had caused the faulty computer command.
However, in the previously unpublished study, commissioned by the board and carried out by an aviation safety expert, Boeing was accused of highlighting the pilot's mistakes to distract attention from the company's design flaws.
At the hearing, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Dutch security agency, admitted that the source of the information could be more transparent in her investigation, but said that the agency had acted independently and that Boeing had not escaped the blame. Was Boeing deliberately spared? "It's just not the case," he said.
A former chairman, Pieter van Vollenhoven, who was in charge of the committee at the time of the investigation, defended his emphasis on pilot errors that caused the crash. "The pilots could have prevented it," he said.
Some of the problems highlighted in the study by expert Sidney Dekker, who is now a professor in Australia and the Netherlands, have since emerged in the results of investigators who have investigated the recent Max accidents.
In both the Max Accidents and the 2009 crash involving a 737 NG, Boeing's design decisions allowed a single faulty sensor to trigger a powerful computer command even though the aircraft was equipped with two sensors. With both models, the company found that pilots would recognize the problem and would restore the aircraft if a sensor failed. However, Boeing did not provide the pilots with any important information that could have helped them to counteract the automation error.
After the 2009 crash, regulators asked airlines to install a software update for the NG that allowed the data from the two available sensors to be compared – similar to what Boeing has now proposed for the Max. In the case of the NG, Boeing had developed a software update prior to the 2009 accident, but it was not compatible with all existing models, including the jet that crashed at Amsterdam.
Joe Sedor, the N.T.S.B. An official who led the American team that had participated in the Dutch investigation a decade ago, as well as representatives from Boeing and the FIA, warned against a comparison of the crashes last month and found that the systems were different on different aircraft. But an older F.A.A. An official who was not authorized to speak publicly told The Times that the study highlighted important issues that had not received enough public attention.
In its final report on the 2009 crash, the Dutch board removed or mitigated some statements after the American team raised objections and found that the pilots' mistakes had not been "adequately highlighted".
Aviation Safety Experts who finalized the Board's final report and Dr. Dekker's study had told The Times that incomplete submission of conclusions from the previous crash was a missed opportunity.
The previous crash "should have woken everyone up," said David Woods, a Ohio State professor who led the F.A.A. Instead, "the problem was buried."
Legislators will discuss his investigation again next week, Paternotte said after the hearing. In the meantime, he said, the Dutch authority will press for documents that could indicate whether Boeing had influenced the investigation.