US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday (13 March) that the US will ground Boeing 737 Max 8s and 9s following a deadly crash over the weekend in Ethiopia, CNN reported.
Earlier in the day, US civil aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identified similarities between the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, leading the agency to issue a directive ground all Boeing 737 Max planes on Wednesday.
In its emergency order, the FAA said new information about Sunday's crash “indicates some similarities” between the two disasters that “warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause that needs to be better understood and addressed.”
FAA said "new information from the wreckage concerning the aircraft's configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircraft's flight path, indicates some similarities" with the Lion Air crash.
The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (PDF) operated by US airlines or in US territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analysed today. This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision. The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB as parties to the investigation of the Flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate.
The US will issue an “emergency order to ground all 737 Max 8 and the 737 Max 9, and planes associated with that line,” Trump said at the White House.
“Pilots have been notified, airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” Trump said.
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 went down Sunday, killing the 157 people on board. It was the second fatal crash of one of the jets in less than six months after a Lion Air Max 8 crashed in the Java Sea near Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.
The US thus far was the only country that did not ground the Boeing 737 Models. The FAA till yesterday was maintaining that investigation has just only commenced and to date it has not in possession of any data warranting conclusions or initiate actions.
Most nations — including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, India, China, and all of Europe — however had decided to ground the jets and this may have played a part in U.S following suit.
The FAA order will ground more than 70 aircraft and covers 737 Max 8s and Max 9s. The aircraft is used by American and Southwest airlines, which combined have 58 Max 8s in their fleets. United Airlines has 14 of the Max 9 planes.
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