Thank you very much. I'm going to proceed.
Thank you, Chairman and members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
My name is Paul Njoroge. I'm the husband of Carolyne Karanja; father of Ryan Njoroge, Kellie Pauls and Rubi Pauls; and son-in-law of Anne Karanja, who all died in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 on March 10, last year.
The tragic death of my family left me in a chasm of solitude, desolation and pain. It changed the lives of my and my wife’s extended families, acquaintances and communities. Young children at St. Joseph Elementary School in Hamilton, Ontario, and friends of Ryan and Kellie, developed a fear of flying.
I'm here today because I believe that the crash that killed my family was preventable. Aviation regulators across the world were not diligent enough in their dispensing of regulatory authority over the certification and validation of the 737 Max plane. Certainly, Canada would not have lost its 18 citizens and unknown numbers of permanent residents had Transport Canada made prudent decisions after the crash of Lion Air flight 610.
Over the last 20 months, a lot has been documented about what affected the design, manufacturing and certification of the 737 Max. A lot more was documented on the FAA’s and Boeing’s acts, omissions and errors that culminated in these tragedies.
My testimony today will not delve into these technicalities. I have provided links to relevant reports in the footnotes of this oral testimony and in the longer version provided for your record.
It is perplexing that agencies across the world became aware of the Boeing and FAA shenanigans after the first crash but still allowed the plane to continue flying. Transport Canada allowed the plane to continue transporting Canadians across the globe. The directorate issued a five-step memory aid for pilots a few days after the first crash. However, in December of 2018, the FAA’s TARAM report predicted that 15 more 737 Max crashes would occur within the lifetime of the airplane. Wasn’t that a concern enough for the Minister of Transport to consider grounding the plane? Eighteen Canadians and unknown numbers of Canadian permanent residents lost their lives in the second crash because of this oversight.
On March 11 last year, a day after the crash of ET302, the Transport Minister appeared on TV and stressed his confidence in the 737 Max, saying that he would board the plane “without hesitation”.
The minister waited for four days before grounding the plane. Mr. Garneau's remarks and actions portrayed excessive hubris, analogous to the behaviour exhibited by many within the FAA and Boeing before and after the 737 Max crashes.
I may not fully understand the bilateral agreement between Canada and the U.S. with respect to aircraft validation, but I'm inclined to think that Transport Canada depended too much on what was decided and documented by the FAA and Boeing. Transport Canada acted like a mere rubber-stamping authority in the validation of the 737 Max planes.
When ET302 crashed, the Prime Minister reacted with one tweet of his thoughts being with the families of the victims, but when Ukraine Airlines flight 752 crashed on January of this year, he humanly appeared extensively on the media and condemned the Iranian government for shooting down the plane. Why didn't the PM demand accountability and thorough investigation of the 737 Max planes? Could it be that he was already aware of the 737 Max issues, but left uninformed Canadians like me to put their families in those flying coffins?
The FAA announced the ungrounding of the 737 Max last week. I believe that the plane is still unsafe to fly. The inherent aerodynamic structural flaws were completely ignored by Boeing and the FAA. The plane is still unstable.
In cases where the MCAS shuts off, pilots are the redundancy expected to turn the manual trim wheel. In the case of flight ET302, this proved to be difficult in scenarios where the aircraft is nosediving at high speed. The plane is still installed with an older flight crew alert system, which produces a cacophony of different alerts that can confuse pilots.
The 737 Max design, certification, validation and ungrounding story is a convoluted web of lies, greed, deceit and concealment of information.
Transport Canada has assured Canadians that the 737 Max will not fly in Canada until their independent validation process is completed. This validation process needs to be redefined, as it failed to consider the 2016 and 2018 concerns of the Canadian test pilots. Mr. Chairman, I have provided this committee with copies of those concerns.
Improvement of this validation process should start with an independent inquiry into decision-making by the transport ministerand Transport Canada, both before and after the 737 Max crashes. Canadians deserve a competent and transparent process.
Thank you for allowing me to speak today.