The European Union’s aviation authority, EASA, suspended all flight operations of the Boeing 737 Max 8 model. Meanwhile the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it was continuing to review and monitor the situation and the planes could keep flying.
With the EU’s decision, a majority of the Boeing Max 8 aircraft in operation around the world have been grounded. United States remains almost alone in continuing to allow the aircraft to fly.
On March 12 Boeing issued this statement: “Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets. We’ll continue to engage with them to ensure they have the information needed to have confidence in operating their fleets. The United States Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”
And the FAA issued this statement from Acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell: “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. 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.”
While an earlier statement from the U. S. aviation authority said, “The FAA continuously assesses and oversees the safety performance of U.S. commercial aircraft. If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action.”
Two carriers in the U. S. rely on the B737 MAX, Southwest Airlines operates 34 and American Airlines operates 24.
Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Mitt Romney of Utah, joined Senator Richard Blumenthal to urge the F.A.A. to ground the aircraft.
Last but not least, U. S. President Trump tweeted about the crash and subsequent concerns about the aircraft, saying: “Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. 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!” This tweet prompted a phone call from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg during which he assured the president the aircraft was safe, according to reports.