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Trump grounds Boeing 737 Max planes effective immediately after crash



Trump GROUNDS Boeing 737 Max planes - effective immediately - after U.S. was left as only country in the world still flying them after Ethiopia disaster

  •  President Trump says he is grounding all U.S. flights on Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes 'effective immediately' in an emergency order of prohibition
  • Any plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, he said in a surprise announcement 
  • Trump made the decision following conversations with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the acting FAA administrator
  • Decision came after 'new information' and 'physical evidence' emerged on tragic incidents involving the planes  
  • 'They are all in agreement with the action,' Trump announced. 'Planes that are in the air will be grounded, if they're the 737 Max ... upon landing at the destination'
  • An Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed Sunday, shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killed all 157 people on board the aircraft
  • A Lion Air flight on a 737 Max 8 crashed in October in Indonesia, taking the lives of its 189 passengers and its crew
  • American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines had not grounded Boeing 737 Max planes prior to Trump's announcement
  • Canada's WestJet banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday  
  • Airlines said they were confident of the safety of model despite fatal crashes
  • At least 40 countries have banned the aircraft from flying for now

By Francesca Chambers, Senior White House Correspondent

Published: 14:33 EDT, 13 March 2019 | Updated: 17:16 EDT, 13 March 2019

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President Trump says he is grounding all U.S. flights on Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes 'effective immediately' in an emergency order of prohibition. 

Any plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, he said in a surprise announcement on Wednesday afternoon. 

Trump said he made the decision following conversations with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and acting FAA administrator Dan Elwell after 'new information' and 'physical evidence' emerged on tragic incidents involving the Max 8 aircraft. 

'They are all in agreement with the action,' Trump announced from the White House. 'Planes that are in the air will be grounded, if they're the 737 Max, will be grounded upon landing at the destination.' 

An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed Sunday, shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa. All 157 people on aircraft perished. A Lion Air flight on a 737 Max 8 crashed in October in Indonesia, taking the lives of its 189 passengers and crew, too.

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President Trump says he is grounding all flights on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition
President Trump says he is grounding all flights on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition

President Trump says he is grounding all flights on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 - 'effective immediately' - in an emergency order of prohibition

Any Max 7 or Max 8  plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, Trump said in a surprise announcement
Any Max 7 or Max 8  plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, Trump said in a surprise announcement

Any Max 7 or Max 8  plane that is currently in the air will be allowed to land, and then the planes will be grounded until further notice, Trump said in a surprise announcement

Airlines have been notified that the Boeing Max aircraft are being taken out of circulation temporarily, and they are in agreement with the decision, Trump claimed. 

'Our hearts go out to all of those who lost loved ones, to their friends to their families in both the Ethiopian and Lion airlines crashes that involved the 737 Max aircraft,' the president said. 'It's a terrible terrible thing. Boeing is an incredible company. They are working very, very hard right now.' 

Boeing will hopefully come up with an answer swiftly, he said.  'But until they do, the planes are grounded.'

The company suggested in a statement a half-hour after Trump's shocking announcement that the company asked the FAA to suspend the flights.

It said in the statement, as its stock shares started to tumble, 'Boeing continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. 

'However, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined -- out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety -- to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft,' it said.

Boeing's stock shares tumbled on Wednesday afternoon following the announcement

More than 35 of the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 planes were still in the air when Trump said he was grounding them as soon as they arrive at their destinations
More than 35 of the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 planes were still in the air when Trump said he was grounding them as soon as they arrive at their destinations

More than 35 of the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 planes were still in the air when Trump said he was grounding them as soon as they arrive at their destinations

Muilenburg simultaneously put out a condolence statement to families affected by both the Lion Air crash in October and the tragedy in Ethiopia.

'On behalf of the entire Boeing team, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in these two tragic accidents,' Muilenburg said.  

'We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be. There is no greater priority for our company and our industry,' he added. 'We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again.'

Boeing's shares shot back up after it released the statement, and the company was on track to close higher than it opened late Wednesday afternoon.

The FAA said in statement that conflicted with both Trump's and Muilenburg's version of events that it was 'ordering the temporary grounding' of the Boeing Max airplanes.  

It said, 'The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today.'

The site evidence in coordination with new satellite data available just this morning 'led to the decision,' according to the statement the FAA sent out after Boeing and Trump got in front the announcement.

Investigators will continue to review flight data recorders and cockpit data recorders as it assesses the safety of the planes, the FAA asserted.

The agency's official order grounding the planes hinted at similarities that 'warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed.' 

It further posits that the Max 8 and 9 planes are nearly identical. Accordingly, the FAA said all it was grounding all 737 Max flights until further notice.  

Southwest Airlines hasn't grounded planes despite 40 countries opting not the fly the aircraft pending an investigation

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines hadn't grounded the planes on their own, despite 40 countries opting not the fly the Boeing aircraft pending a full investigation. 

On Wednesday morning, 33 of the models were spotted on Flightradar24, most over the U.S. There were as many flying over North and South America at the time that Trump said he was grounding them.  

After Canada's transportation minister, Marc Garneau, also said the country is closing air space to the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, due to information it had received in the form of satellite data that showed a possible but unproven similarity to the previous Max 8 crash, the U.S. said the two countries would be working together hand-in-hand. 

American Airlines has 24 Max 8s and said in a statement they would keep taking passengers on the planes until they receive solid proof of a problem.

A statement from the airline read: 'At this time there are no facts on the cause of the accident other than news reports. We have full confidence in the aircraft and our crew members, who are the best and most experienced in the industry.'

Southwest Airlines continued the fly the aircraft, too. The Texas-based operator said the aircraft is safe to ride in.

'We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our fleet of more than 750 Boeing aircraft,' the low-cost carrier said.

United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after October's crash
United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after October's crash

United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after October's crash

Canada's WestJet ¿ which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday
Canada's WestJet ¿ which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday

Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday 

United Airlines was still flying Max 9s, which were not involved in the Ethiopian Airlines or Lion Air crashes that took place within five months of each other, but were part of the FAA's emergency airworthiness directive after the October crash.

Canada's WestJet – which has 121 Boeing 737s - kept them in the air until the country banned the Boeing Max from Canadian airspace Wednesday. 

The transportation minister said it was a precautionary measure based on new information received this morning. 

The fleet includes 13 Max 8 aircraft, the same kind involved in Sunday's crash six minutes after take-off, and the October 2018 Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 passengers over then Java Sea. 

Up until Tuesday, UAE-based low cost carrier flydubai was the only airline outside of North America that remained 'confident in the airworthiness of our fleet' for the Max 8s, of which they flew 11.

But their Max 8 and Max 9 planes were grounded at the order of the country's General Civil Aviation Authority, which banned them from air space in the United Arab Emirates from Wednesday. 

Yesterday, the FAA's Elwell said the agency had no basis for grounding the aircraft.

 'Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.' 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom have grounded the Max 8 

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines (pictured) have ditched the planes
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines (pictured) have ditched the planes

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines (pictured) have ditched the planes 

Pilots said in prior reports that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply
Pilots said in prior reports that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply

Pilots said in prior reports that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply

Airline pilots on at least two U.S. flights have otherwise reported that an automated system seemed to cause their Boeing 737 Max planes to tilt down suddenly.

The pilots said that soon after engaging the autopilot on Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the nose tilted down sharply. In both cases, they recovered quickly after disconnecting the autopilot.

The pilot reports were filed last year in a data base compiled by NASA. They are voluntary safety reports and do not publicly reveal the names of pilots, the airlines or the location of the incidents.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground.'

President Trump voiced concerns of his own with advanced aircraft.

'Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products,' he said in a tweet. 'Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger.'

Trump assessed: 'All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!' 

Boeing's said later that Muilenburg had spoke with Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. 

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster on Sunday said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground'
An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster on Sunday said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground'

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster on Sunday said the plane appeared to have 'slid directly into the ground'

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the airline has received no reports from pilots about problems with the anti-stall technology. Southwest has said the same thing. 

Boeings technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

The Max 8 model had been grounded by India, the UAE, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iceland and Germany, and the airlines LOT Polish, TUI Airways, GOL Linhas Aereas, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Cayman Airways, Comair Airways, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air, Silkair and Thai Lion.

The European Union and UK Civil Aviation Authority have banned the entire Boeing 737 Max fleet. 

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman, France, Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, did so too. Turkish Airlines and Norwegian Airlines have ditched the planes for now.

COUNTRIES THAT HAVE GROUNDED BOEING 737 MAX 8

Europe: 

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom 

Middle East and North Africa:

Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and United Arab Emirates

Asia: 

China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Mongolia

Australasia: 

Australia, New Zealand 

North America: 

United States, Bermuda, Canada

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