Exclusive: Key U.S. senators draft plan to reform new plane design approvals after 737 MAX crashesExclusive: Key U.S. senators draft plan to reform new plane design approvals after 737 MAX crashes
FILE PHOTO: Boeing 737 Max aircraft are parked in a parking lot at Boeing Field in this aerial photo taken over Seattle

By David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Two key U.S. senators are circulating a bipartisan draft bill that would reform how the Federal Aviation Administration certifies new aircraft in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people.

The measure seeks to eliminate the ability of aircraft makers like Boeing Co. to unduly influence the certification process and marks the most significant step toward reforms following the crashes, which sparked calls to change how the FAA approves new airplanes.

The draft, which was completed this week and reviewed by Reuters, is authored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker and the top Democrat on the panel, Senator Maria Cantwell.

The FAA, Wicker’s office and Boeing declined to comment on the draft bill.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Dan Grebler)