(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered all Boeing 737 Max airplanes to be grounded in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people over the weekend.
“I know that you've all been following the terrible tragedy of the Ethiopian Airlines crash this weekend. Tragic. The FAA is prepared to make a announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence that we've received from the site and from other locations, and through a couple of other complaints,” Trump said.
“We've had a very, very detailed group of people working on the 737-8 and the 737-9 -- new airplanes. We're going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9, and planes associated with that line,” the president said during a White House briefing on drug trafficking on the southern border.
Trump said he’s spoken to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell, and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, and they’re all in agreement with his decision.
“Any plane currently in the air will go to its destination and thereafter be grounded until further notice. So planes that are in the air will be grounded -- if they're the 737 MAX -- will be grounded upon landing at the destination. Pilots have been notified. Airlines have been all notified. Airlines are agreeing with this. The safety of the American people and all people is our paramount concern,” he said.
“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. It’s a terrible, terrible thing,” Trump said.
The president called Boeing “an incredible company” that is “working very, very hard right now, and hopefully they'll very quickly come up with the answer, but until they do, the planes are grounded.”
“And you'll be hearing from the FAA directly, in a little while. We'd say probably in 45 minutes from now, so you'll be prepared to hear. They're going to go into great detail as to what they found and where we're going and what we're doing, but all of those planes are grounded effective immediately,” he said.
“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 agency said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
“The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX. Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell said in a statement.
“In the course of our urgent review of data on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action,” he added.