US Grounds Boeing 737 Max Aircraft In Wake Of Deadly Crashes

March 14, 2019 by Dan McCue
US Grounds Boeing 737 Max Aircraft In Wake Of Deadly Crashes
A Boeing 737 Max gives a display during the opening day of the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, England on July 16, 2018. (Andrew Matthews/PA Wire via ZUMA Press)

President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday the United States is grounding the Boeing 737 Max aircraft after days of critics saying the administration failed to swiftly protect the flying public after two of the planes were involved in deadly crashes overseas.

“All of those planes are grounded, effective immediately,” the president said.

The decision came two days after the Federal Aviation Administration said it had found no evidence to support grounding the planes in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash over the weekend.

That stance prompted criticism from lawmakers and a former transportation secretary as the United States appeared to be adopting a wait-and-see position as aviation safety regulators around the world, including Canada, China, Australia, the European Union and the United Kingdom, all moved to ground the passenger jet in their jurisdictions.

The same model plane crashed into the Java Sea in October, killing all onboard.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in a statement Tuesday that he was concerned that international aviation regulators are providing more certainty to the flying public than the FAA.

“In the coming days, it is absolutely critical that we get answers as to what caused the devastating crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 and whether there is any connection to what caused the Lion Air accident just five months ago,” DeFazio said.

The same day former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for the administration to act.

“These planes need to be inspected before people get on them,” LaHood said. “The flying public expects somebody in the government to look after safety, and that’s DOT’s responsibility.”

As transportation secretary in 2013, LaHood grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner because of overheating lithium-ion battery packs. The planes went back into service less than a month later, after Boeing engineered new fire-resistant compartments around the batteries.

LaHood said current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao should do the same thing with the 737, even if it meant overruling the FAA.

“The secretary has the authority to suspend these planes” he said. “She has the authority to do it no matter what the FAA thinks.”

In announcing the decision to ground the planes on Wednesday, Trump called Boeing “an incredible company” and said it is working “very hard” to identify and address issues with the aircraft.

The president said all 737 Max aircraft in air as he spoke would proceed to their destinations and be grounded upon landing.

In a statement issued after the president spoke, the FAA said it was ordering the temporary grounding of the Boeing 737 aircraft “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 statement said.

The grounding is to remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data and cockpit voice records, the agency said.

But such assurances aren’t mollifying lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has already said it will hold a hearing in coming days on air safety.

“It is important to allow the FAA, NTSB and other agencies to conduct thorough investigations to ensure they have as much information as possible to make informed decisions,” said committee chairman Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., in a written statement.

“Thousands of passengers every day depend on the aviation system to get them safely to their destinations, and we must never become complacent with the level of safety in our system. Therefore, the committee plans to hold a hearing reviewing the state of aviation safety to ensure that safety is maintained for all travelers,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who sits on the committee, told CNN he’s told his family and others to switch planes rather than fly on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

“There should be a full investigation but in the meantime, better safe than sorry,” Blumenthal, said. He added the planes are “unsafe at any speed right now.”

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Transportation

June 17, 2024
by Dan McCue
UAW Members Approve Contract at Ohio EV Battery Plant

LORDSTOWN, Ohio — UAW workers at an Ohio plant that supplies the battery cells for General Motors electric vehicles have... Read More

LORDSTOWN, Ohio — UAW workers at an Ohio plant that supplies the battery cells for General Motors electric vehicles have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that ensures significant raises and better health and safety protections. The new contract for workers at Ultium Cells, a joint venture... Read More

Baltimore's Busy Port Fully Reopens After Bridge Collapse, and a Return to Normal Is Expected

BALTIMORE (AP) — Authorities anticipate commercial shipping traffic through the Port of Baltimore will soon return to normal levels after... Read More

BALTIMORE (AP) — Authorities anticipate commercial shipping traffic through the Port of Baltimore will soon return to normal levels after the channel fully reopened this week for the first time since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. “They are back open for business, ready to bring... Read More

In Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, a Hidden Underground World Under Threat by the Maya Train

AKTUN TUYUL CAVE SYSTEM, Mexico (AP) — Rays of sunlight slice through pools of crystal water as clusters of fish... Read More

AKTUN TUYUL CAVE SYSTEM, Mexico (AP) — Rays of sunlight slice through pools of crystal water as clusters of fish cast shadows on the limestone below. Arching over the emerald basin are walls of stalactites dripping down the cavern ceiling, which opens to a dense jungle.... Read More

Japan's Toyota Shows 'Engine Born' With Green Fuel Despite Global Push for EVs

TOKYO (AP) — “An engine reborn.” That's how Japanese automaker Toyota introduced plans to cast a futuristic spin on the... Read More

TOKYO (AP) — “An engine reborn.” That's how Japanese automaker Toyota introduced plans to cast a futuristic spin on the traditional internal combustion engine. During a three-hour presentation at a Tokyo hall Tuesday, the car manufacturer giant announced it would offer lean compact engines that also... Read More

May 13, 2024
by Dan McCue
Yamaha Embracing Hydrogen Power in Big Way in Recreational Market

WASHINGTON — If one wanted further proof that the Yamaha Motor Corporation wants to stake a major claim in the... Read More

WASHINGTON — If one wanted further proof that the Yamaha Motor Corporation wants to stake a major claim in the hydrogen-powered vehicle market, they only needed to check out the vehicle in a curbside parking spot outside the Capitol Hill Club last week. It was there,... Read More

May 10, 2024
by Dan McCue
Senate Passes FAA Reauthorization in Resounding Fashion

WASHINGTON — After days of debate over amendments that had nothing to do with air travel and were ultimately shelved,... Read More

WASHINGTON — After days of debate over amendments that had nothing to do with air travel and were ultimately shelved, the Senate on Thursday night passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill in resounding, bipartisan fashion. The final vote, which extends the FAA’s authority for five... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top