Just moments ago, U.S. President Donald Trump stated he was grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the United States by Executive Order. Now the Federal Aviation Administration has issued its own explanation.
Via Twitter, the FAA stated:
The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed 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.
This follows an earlier statement by Trump:
Trump shared that he consulted with Boeing, the FAA, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao:
They are all in agreement with the action. Any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and thereafter be grounded until further notice…The safety of the American people, of all people, is our paramount concern.
Note that the FAA attributes its sudden change in position to 1.) new data gathered today at the crash site and 2.) newly refined satellite data.
United Airlines: We Will Comply
United quickly issued a statement stating it would comply with the FAA order:
We will comply with the FAA’s order and will ground our 14 737 MAX aircraft. We will remain in close touch with authorities as their investigation continues.
Since Sunday, we have been working diligently on contingency plans to prepare our fleet to minimize the impact to customers. Our MAX aircraft account for roughly 40 flights a day and through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact as a result of this order. We will continue to work with our customers to help minimize any disruption to their travel.
Southwest and American have not issued public statements yet. Apparently, United has been preparing for this since Sunday.
I have to wonder whether this was Trump’s decree or indeed in consultation with Boeing and the FAA. In any case, the USA becomes the last nation to ground the Boeing 737 MAX.
What are your thoughts on this development?