File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )
The US was one of the last countries to ban Boeing's 737 Max jet.
The United States Transport Department has directed its internal watchdog to conduct an inquiry into the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) approval of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
The Boeing aircraft, which has been involved in two major crashes in the last five months, has been grounded by scores of governments and airlines citing safety concerns following the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash which claimed the lives of all 157 people on board.
The audit has been ordered by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Tuesday (local time), who stated, "Safety is the top priority of the department, and all of us are saddened by the fatalities resulting from the recent accidents involving two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia."
She further wrote that the inquiry will "help inform the department's decision-making and the public's understanding and to assist the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively," according to The New York Times.
The FAA finds itself mired in controversy over its certification and approval of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet."We are currently developing the scope and objectives of our review and expect to formally announce and begin our audit work as soon as possible," the Transportation Department`s Office of Inspector General said.
Boeing has since agreed to cooperate with the review.