March 14, 2019
The FAA said the Ethiopian jet that crashed Sunday had a flight pattern very similar to that of a Lion Air jet that went down in October.
An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport on Tuesday.Scott McIntyre / Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Farnoush Amiri and Ben Kesslen, NBC News
President Donald Trump announced an emergency order from the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday grounding Boeing 737 Max jets in the wake of an Ethiopian Airlines crash Sunday and a Lion Air accident in October that together killed 346 people.
Trump’s announcement came as the FAA faced mounting pressure from aviation advocates and others to ban flights of the planes pending investigations into the deadly accidents.
Sunday’s crash killed 157 people, and the one in Indonesia in October killed 189.
“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,” Trump announced, referring to “new information and physical evidence that we’ve received” in addition to some complaints.
The FAA said it decided to ground the jets after it found that the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft that crashed had a flight pattern very similar to the Lion Air flight.
“It became clear that the track of the Ethiopian flight behaved very similarly to the Lion Air flight,” said Steven Gottlieb, the FAA’s deputy director of accident investigations.
Meanwhile, the investigation into Sunday’s crash was proceeding, with the jet’s black boxes to be sent to France on Wednesday night for examination.
U.S. airports and airlines reacted to the order Wednesday, acknowledging that it will lead to canceled flights. Miami International Airport said it expected 19 departures to be canceled Wednesday.
American has about 85 flights a day on Max 8s and Max 9s. United Airlines has about 40 such flights. Southwest Airlines has the most, about 150 a day, out of the airline’s total of about 4,100 flights daily.
The FAA order followed similar directives from a growing number of countries — including Canada, European nations and China — after Sunday’s crash.
Published Date: March 13, 2019