Supporters say new Federal Aviation Administration rules will allow the FAA to concentrate on more serious safety issues, while detractors say it is a dangerous cost-cutting compromise, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.
Nine companies nationwide, including Northwest Airlines and Gulfstream, have been allowed to self-certify portions of production to date. Other large aerospace firms, including Boeing, will switch to the new approach -- called Organization Designation Authorization -- next year.
Scott Peterson, director of regulatory and quality-systems oversight at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says it will free the FAA from day-to-day minutiae so it can "put more focus on the key safety factors."
The result, he said, is, "We're not bogging down the FAA. ... It's a win/win."
But former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall criticized the new FAA approach.
"The federal government, because of shrinking resources, is turning over key parts of transportation-safety oversight" to private industry, Hall said in an interview with the Times. "History tells us this could be a very dangerous path."