President Trump comments on the order to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 jets until the manufacturer comes up with a solution. Boeing has been under scrutiny of this jet since a crash in Ethiopia over the weekend killed all 157 people on board.
After days of mounting pressure, the United States grounded Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft on Wednesday, reversing an earlier decision in which American regulators said the planes could keep flying after a deadly crash in Ethiopia.
The decision, announced by President Trump, followed determinations by safety regulators in some 42 countries to ban flights by the jets, which are now grounded worldwide. Pilots, flight attendants, consumers and politicians from both major parties had been agitating for the planes to be grounded in the United States. Despite the clamor, the Federal Aviation Administration had been resolute, saying on Tuesday that it had seen “no systemic performance issues” that would prompt it to halt flights of the jet.
China was the first major country to ground the jets. The U.S. was last.
That changed Wednesday when, in relatively quick succession, Canadian and American aviation authorities said they were grounding the planes after newly available satellite-tracking data suggested similarities between Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia and one involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 in Indonesia in October.
Boeing wants suspension of 'entire global fleet' of 737 MAX
Flight ban ordered by President Trump as new evidence emerges at Ethiopia crash site along with satellite data.
The United States grounded Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft over safety fears, leaving the world's largest plane-maker facing its worst crisis in years.
Boeing, meanwhile, recommended a temporary suspension of its "entire global fleet" of the 737 MAX aircraft after the Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 people on board.
"We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution," said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's president, CEO and chairman in a statement on the company's website.
"We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again."
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered the temporary grounding of all 737 MAX aircraft operated by US airlines or in United States' territory.
It said the decision was based on new evidence gathered at the Ethiopia Airlines crash site, near the capital Addis Ababa, as well as "newly refined satellite data".
"The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analysed today," the FAA said in a statement.
The grounding was welcomed by air workers in the United States.
John Samuelsen, international president of the Transport Workers Union of America, which represents aviation workers and flight attendants, said the grounding of the fleet was right "both for air travellers and aviation workers."
The FAA's move came minutes after US President Donald Trump issued an emergency order for the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft in the country.
"I didn't want to take any chances," said Trump. "We could have delayed it. We maybe didn't have to make it at all. But I felt it was important both psychologically and in a lot of other ways.
"The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern."
Sunday's Ethiopia Airlines crash was the second accident involving the US-based aerospace giant's MAX 8 model within six months.
Last October, a Lion Air-operated MAX 8 went down in Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
Both crashes took place shortly after takeoff and have prompted intense scrutiny over the plane's control systems.
The new information from the wreckage in Ethiopia and newly refined data about the plane's flight path indicated some similarities between the two disasters "that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause", the FAA said in a statement.
The acting administrator of the FAA, Daniel Elwell, said he did not know how long the US grounding of the aircraft would last. A software fix for the 737 Max that Boeing has been working on since the Indonesia crash will take months to complete, Elwell told reporters.
In addition to the US, dozens of other nations also banned the use of 737 MAX models in their airspace in recent days including China, Canada, India and the 28-countries comprising the European Union.
Shares in Boeing fell precipitously on Wednesday, plunging by nearly three percent and putting the stock down more than 13 percent since before Sunday's crash.
The downturn has wiped billions off the company's market value.
The single-aisle 737 is central to Boeing's future in its battle with European rival Airbus SE. The new variant of the 737, the fastest-selling jetliner in Boeing's history, is viewed as the likely workhorse for global airlines for decades.
Courtesy: New York Times and Aljajjera