On Wednesday afternoon President Trump announced the issuing of an emergency order grounding all flights of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the US as a result of the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Sunday and Lion Air Flight 610 last October. The President said he has spoken with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and they are ‘in agreement with the action.’ The FAA confirmed that it is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory due to ‘new evidence collected at the site and analysed on Wednesday together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning.’
“Any plane in the air will go to its destination and thereafter be grounded until further notice,” said President Trump. “Pilots have been notified, airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people are our paramount concern.” Boeing also issued a statement saying that although it still has complete confidence in the aircraft’s safety, it decided ‘to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft’ in order to ‘reassure the flying public’ and ‘out of an abundance of caution.’ 737 MAX jets have also been grounded by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and in at least 42 countries including Canada, China and Ethiopia. According to the FAA’s statement, the aircraft will be grounded ‘pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.’ Teams from the FAA and NTSB are onsite in Ethiopia assisting with the Flight 302 accident investigation.