US grounds Boeing 737s involved in Indonesian, Ethiopian crashes


US grounds Boeing 737s involved in Indonesian, Ethiopian crashes

Barry Grey

14 March 2019

On Wednesday, three days after a Boeing 737 Max 8 commercial jet crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board, and governments all over the world had banned the Boeing 737 Max fleet, the United States ended its isolation and announced that it was grounding the planes indefinitely.

President Trump made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, hours after the last holdout besides the US, Canada, announced that it was joining Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America in banning the planes. Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau issued his statement after reports surfaced of at least 11 complaints about the recently deployed 737 Max planes having been logged by US professional aviators with the federal Aviation Safety Reporting System between April and December of 2018.

Boeing 737 MAX 9

The position of Boeing and the US carriers that use its 737 Max jets—Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United—backed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), that the planes were perfectly safe and should continue flying, had become untenable. Sunday’s crash, which occurred six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa airport, was doubly alarming because it appeared to follow the same pattern as the Lion Air crash last October of a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet that went down eight minutes after takeoff from the airport in Jakarta, Indonesia. That disaster likewise killed all passengers and crew, a total of 189 people.

Aviation experts believe the Lion Air jet plunged into the Java Sea after the aircraft gyrated between descents and ascents because an automated flight control system newly installed on the updated 737 model repeatedly pitched the nose of the plane downward and the pilots…

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