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Since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines, all Boeing 737 MAX remain grounded. REUTERS / Mike Blake

In the United States, the Federal Agency for Control (FAA) accuses the manufacturer Boeing for hiding the contents of an exchange between two pilots who showed as early as 2016 a failure of the automatic system involved in the two crashes that made 346 dead.

With our correspondent in Washington, Anne Corpet

Grounded since two successive accidents last year, the Boeing 737 MAX is not ready to take off again. The difficulties of the manufacturer were amplified this October 18 after the revelation of an exchange of messages between pilots showing the problems of the automatic system involved in the two crashes of the aircraft that caused the death of 346 people.

The exchange between the two pilots, on an instant messenger, dates from 2016, two years before the certification of the automatic system and the two crashes. " The automatic system derails " writes first. The second responds: " It's obvious ." One of the pilots adds, " If I understand correctly, I lied to the regulators ." " Nobody told us that it was like that, " concludes his interlocutor.

"Criminal conduct"

These messages were not transmitted by Boeing until October 17 to the Federal Agency for Regulation (FAA), which now accuses the company of hiding them. " I'm waiting for your explanation immediately, " the FAA administrator immediately responded.

For months, the airline maintains that its system was certified in the rules and that nothing could suggest its unreliability. The content of these messages indicates the exact opposite.

" It's starting to look like criminal conduct, " commented Peter de Fazzio, who is leading the investigation into the 737 MAX's problems in the House of Representatives. Boeing's boss is due to testify about this for the first time before Congress before the end of the month.

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