U.S. grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft as pressure mounts

Photo courtesy Pixalbay/F. Muhammad

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua) — The United States is grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft, said U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday, as the country becomes the last major country to do so after two crashes by the model in recent months.

“All of those planes are grounded, effective immediately,” Trump told a press event, referring to the Boeing 737 Max variations.

“The safety of the American people, of all people is our paramount concern,” Trump said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) followed up on Trump’s remarks with a statement, ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory.

The FAA said that “new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today” led to the latest decision.

“The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s data recorders and cockpit voice recorders,” the FAA statement said.

The announcement, reversing the FAA’s statements defending Boeing, came hours after Canada announced it is pulling Boeing 737 Max aircraft from the sky, indicating that the United States is bowing to the mounting pressure from the international community to ground the aircraft.

Boeing said in a statement that “out of an abundance of caution,” it recommended to the FAA the suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 aircraft in the 737 Max category.

The United States is the last major country to halt operation of the questioned model, despite repeated calls from U.S. lawmakers, experts, and the public in the past couple of days for the regulatory body to prioritize safety.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya crashed Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. A Lion Air of the same model crashed in October in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.