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US grounds Boeing 737 MAX amid growing safety concerns

Boeing 737 MAX is considered unsafe [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 March, 2019

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The United States has joined a number of countries in banning the Boeing 737 MAX after a deadly crash in Ethiopia.


The ban on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft became worldwide on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump joined Canada and other countries in grounding the aircraft amid intense pressure about the safety concerns.

Demands grew for urgent answers over the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 as Ethiopian and US authorities searched for the cause of Sunday's deadly crash near the capital of the African nation, which followed a fatal accident in Indonesia in October.

"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 planes," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"The safety of the American people and all peoples is our paramount concern."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the decision was based on new evidence gathered at the crash site near Addis Ababa as well as "newly refined satellite data."

Earlier on Wednesday, Canada also joined the long list of countries to ban the plane from flying in its airspace and many airlines have voluntarily taken it out of service.

The FAA said it will continue to work with investigators to determine the cause of the crash, while Ethiopia said it would send the black boxes to Europe for analysis.

"Hopefully they will come up with an answer but until they do the planes are grounded," Trump said of the planes.

Boeing chief Dennis Muilenburg said he supported the US decision "out of an abundance of caution," but continues to have "full confidence" in the safety of the plane.

The company continues its efforts "to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again," Muilenburg said in a statement.

Preliminary accounts of the Ethiopian Airlines flight appear similar to the Lion Air crash in October, which were echoed in concerns registered by US pilots on how the MAX 8 behaves.

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