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US Senate to consider nomination of NTSB chair for new term

WASHINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will hold an April 10 hearing on the nomination of Jennifer Homendy to serve a new term as chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Homendy, who was renominated by President Joe Biden last month, was the on-scene board member for last week’s Baltimore bridge collapse and the Jan. 5 Alaska Airlines (ALK.N), opens new tab Boeing (BA.N), opens new tab 737 MAX 9 mid-air emergency prompted by a door panel blowout.
Homendy, who has served on the board since 2018 and has been chair since August 2021, previously was a senior legislative staffer working on transportation issues.
Last month, Homendy criticized what she termed Boeing’s lack of cooperation in the door plug probe including failing to disclose the names of 25 workers on the door crew at the 737 factory in Renton, Washington. After Homendy’s comments, Boeing provided the 25 names. Boeing denied failing to cooperate.
She has also urged action after a series of near-miss aviation safety incidents, and urged the Federal Aviation Administration to mandate retrofitting all planes with cockpit voice-recorders capturing 25 hours of data from the current two-hour loop.
Homendy has also pushed for new train safety measures after the February 2023 derailment of a Norfolk Southern (NSC.N), opens new tab operated train in East Palestine, Ohio, saying the board will “make safety recommendations to prevent similar derailments from ever happening again … It is our job to hold everyone accountable.”
Homendy previously has criticized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to ensure driver assistance systems like Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab Autopilot or nascent self-driving vehicles are safe.
In February 2023, a FedEx (FDX.N), opens new tab cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines (LUV.N), opens new tab, Boeing 737 that came within about 115 feet (35 meters) of each other in Austin in poor visibility conditions could have been a “terrible tragedy,” Homendy said.
She said last year that seven close call aviation incidents “must serve as a wake-up call for every single one of us, before something more catastrophic occurs.”