American Leadership on Air Safety Under Question Across the Globe

Anthony Faiola, writing for The Washington Post:

Around the globe, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for decades represented the gold standard for air safety — a regulator whose decisions, particularly on American-made aircraft, boosted the confidence of plane travelers in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, as well as London, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing.

Yet since Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash shortly after takeoff — the second 737 Max to go down in less than five months — foreign observers have watched Washington’s handling of the crisis with mounting alarm. Critics at home and abroad are blaming, at best, erratic decision-making and, at worst, domestic commercial interests, for what many of them decry as a flawed U.S. reaction. […]

The outcome, critics say, has undermined American credibility as the pacesetter for global aircraft standards, while potentially ushering in an era in which international regulators — particularly those in China and Europe — assert growing clout. The global response now stands in contrast to 2013, when foreign aviation authorities largely followed the U.S. lead in dealing with a rash of battery problems that led to the temporary grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Keep in mind that the FAA hasn’t had a commissioner for over a year, after Trump nominated his own personal private jet pilot for the role and the Senate rightly laughed at the notion. This is a real-world consequence of Trump’s — and his supporters’ — rejection of the notion of expertise and the importance of staffing the federal government with experts.

For all his bluster to the contrary, Trump is ceding global leadership to China and the EU.

Friday, 15 March 2019